Asbestos is the name given to a group of six different fibrous materials (Amosite, Chrysolite, Crocidolite, and the fibrous varieties of Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite) that occur naturally in the environment. The Chrysolite belongs to Serpentine family of minerals, while all of others belong to Amphibole family. All forms of Asbestos are hazardous, and all can cause cancer, but Amphibole forms of asbestos are considered to be more hazardous to health than Chrysolite. Asbestos mineral consists of thin separable fibers having parallel arrangement. Non fibrous forms of Termolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite found naturally are not considered as fibrous minerals. Chrysolite Known as "White Asbestos" is the predominant commercial form of asbestos. These minerals do not dissolve in water or evaporate and are resistant to heat, fire, chemical and biological degradation. Because of these properties, it has been used in various manufactured products mostly building materials, friction products and heat resistant fabrics.
Asbestos fiber neither evaporates into ai...
It is neither mobile in the soil nor degraded by soil reaction except Chrysolite which solubilises to small extent in acidic environment. Most of the health hazard from Asbestos comes from breathing in suspended particles as the level of Asbestos in urban air is 10 times higher than the rural air.
Effect of Asbestos on Human Health:
The level of Asbestos in air depends on the extent of its use in insulation, ceiling or floor tiles, or other purposes like electrical insulation, etc. People working with asbestos like insulation workers and abatement workers are more likely to be exposed to the health hazards. The indirect effect of carried away asbestos particles by the workers to the households though dresses and hairs may affect other family members including children. Although it is not soluble in water but drinking water flowing through asbestos pipes containing suspended particles may concern health risk.
Deposition of asbestos fibers in the lung can lead to substantial nonneoplastic
fibrotic injury and may even cause death. This disease known as pneumoconiosis termed asbestosis, results from a prolonged inflammatory response stimulated by the presence of the fibers in the lung. The magnitude of the risk of lung cancer is usually influenced by the level and duration of exposure, the age of exposure, smoking habit, and time elapsed since exposure and the type and size of the asbestos fibers. Another tissue that may be affected in humans exposed to asbestos in air is the pleura which forms plaques. There is also increased risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma wherein the cellular immune system in workers results in reduced