Asbestos is the name for a group of naturally occurring materials that can be separated into strong, very fine fibres. These fibres are extremely durable, heat and fire resistant. Because of these qualities, asbestos has been used in thousands of industrial, construction and consumer products. The major fibre types used commercially are Chrysotile (mostly from Canada,) Amosite (mostly from southern Africa,) and Crocidolite (mostly from southern Africa and Australia.)
There are three other types (Anthophyllite, Tremolite, and Actinolite) these are rare and found mainly as contaminants in the others.
Unless the fibres are completely encapsulated, they tend to break down into a microscopic dust. A single fibre of asbestos magnified 1,000 times looks slightly larger than a strand of human hair. Because of their size and shape, asbestos fibres can remain suspended in the air for long periods of time, and therefore they can be inhaled.When asbestos fibres are inhaled (or swallowed) they can easily penetrate the tissues of the body and, because of their durability, remain in the body for many years.
Why is asbestos dangerous to health?
It is now clear that exposure to airbourne asbestos fibres can cause disease. The risk of developing an asbestos-related disease varies accordingly to the intensity, duration and nature of the exposure.
Where is asbestos found?
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