Asbestos: From Miracle Mineral to Product Menace

by Sokolove Law

Before it was found to be associated with fatal health risks, asbestos was widely used and touted as a miracle of modern science. A widely available, naturally occurring mineral, asbestos claimed its first documented victim in 1906, but items made from the material continued on the production line.

The Industrial Revolution brought increased interest in asbestos. By the mid-20th century, uses included fire retardant coatings, bricks, concrete, insulation of varying types, flooring, roofing and even lawn furniture. One company used asbestos as a cigarette filter.

It was not until 1931 that “mesothelioma” appeared in medical literature, and it took another decade to connect it to asbestos exposure. Industry officials withheld caution from the general public despite knowing exposure to asbestos was a proven health hazard.

Asbestos Products

For many years, people across the world used asbestos as a cost-effective solution for everyday problems. Asbestos minerals fall into two groups: serpentine (which accounts for roughly 95 percent of all asbestos building products) and amphibole. Both mineral groups were used to create various products, and used by millions of people.

Serpentine asbestos minerals are layered, and can be found in any of the following products:

  • Drywall
  • Brake pads
  • Fire doors
  • Pipes
  • Fireproof clothing

Amphibole minerals break down into five groups, and were made into:

  • Ceiling tiles
  • Insulating board
  • Fire-rated doors
  • Gaskets

Health concerns may materialize after prolonged periods of inhaling asbestos fibers. Most people who become ill from inhalation were exposed at a job where they worked or interacted with asbestos daily. Miners and soldiers were particularly affected.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos and in the past, and has since developed an illness such as mesothelioma, contact Sokolove Law today for a free legal consultation regarding a mesothelioma claim.