Home Health Asbestos: the different types and health risks

Asbestos: the different types and health risks

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the term given to a group of minerals made up of different microscopic fibres. When these certain fibres are released into the air, they can get into the lungs of humans and result in terrible, life-threatening conditions. Because the fibres don’t break down in the human body, they attach themselves to the lining of the lungs, and, as a result, cause healthy cells to mutate.

In the past, asbestos materials were commonly used as building materials within the UK. This was because they were known to be strong, and resistant to heat and fire.

As soon as the health risks of using asbestos materials became apparent, the use of it was completely banned. When someone has been in contact with asbestos due to the negligence of someone else, and, as a result, has suffered pain or financial loss, they could make an asbestos claim for compensation.

What are the different types of asbestos?

Asbestos occurs naturally in 6 different types, all of which are carcinogenic to humans. These include:

  • Chrysotile

The most commonly used form of asbestos, chrysotile can be found in the walls, floors, ceilings and roofs of a number of different homes and businesses. Chrysotile has also been used by many manufacturers in insulation for pipes and ducts, and automobile brake linings.

  • Amosite

Amosite, or ‘brown asbestos’, is also extremely common. In its natural state, it is known as grunerite, and was mainly mined in South Africa. Products that contain amosite include gaskets, roofing products, vinyl tiles and cement sheets.

  • Crocidolite

Crocidolite fibres are very thin, meaning that they can lodge more easily into the lung tissue. Crocidolite asbestos-containing products include ceiling tiles, acid storage battery casings, insulation and fireproofing.

  • Anthophyllite

A rare type of asbestos, anthophyllite can be found in a number of construction and household products within the UK. Traces of it can be found in vermiculite or talc products.

  • Tremolite

Although uncommon in huge quantities in nature, tremolite asbestos can be found in traces of minerals such as talk and vermiculite, much like anthophyllite.

What health risks does it carry?

Asbestos carried a number of significant, life-changing health risks. These include:

  • Mesothelioma

This asbestos-induced cancer, mesothelioma, attacks both the lower digestive tract and the lining of the lings. With a gestation period of anything between 20-50 years, it is often terminal once it has been diagnosed.

  • Asbestos-related lung cancer

Asbestos-related lung cancer looks like the more common form of lung cancer, which is why it’s more difficult to ascertain a cause.

  • Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a scarring condition of the lung, which can cause progressive shortness of breath. In extreme cases, it can be fatal.

  • Pleural thickening

After heavy asbestos exposure, an individual’s lung lining can thicken and swell. This can cause discomfort in the chest, and a shortness of breath.