Essay on Chemistry - Asbestos

Submitted By chinsfrance
Words: 474
Pages: 2

The Dangers of Asbestos

Before the 1970s public awareness of the dangers of asbestos had not increased due to no reporting of medical studies positively relating asbestos to lung disease. In 1989 the U.S. EPA issued a ruling banning most asbestos containing products. This ban was overturned by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991. So, between public awareness and battles in the courts, the banning of asbestos was delayed.

Currently, the people most heavily exposed to asbestos in the United States are those in construction trades. This population includes an estimated 1.3 million construction workers as well as workers in building and equipment maintenance (American Thoracic Society 2004). Because most asbestos was used in construction, and two-thirds of asbestos produced is still used in this trade, risk to these workers can be considerable if the hazard is not recognized and OSHA standards are not enforced. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the thin membranes lining organs in the chest (pleura) and abdomen (peritoneum). Mesothelioma is closely linked with asbestos; most cases of mesothelioma result from direct exposure to asbestos at work.

For smokers, exposure to asbestos can be exceptionally risky. Smokers are 50-84 times more likely to develop lung cancer than normal (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2006). The data documenting asbestos as a human carcinogen is outlined in the U.S. Environ-mental Protection Agency Integrated Risk Information System. Asbestos is listed as a Class A human carcinogen. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2008).

To avoid asbestos at home one can avoid breathing it by trying to avoid breathing dust during normal activities. Things that can help me avoid asbestos include: cleaning my house with a wet, rag instead of a dry duster, wetting down my garden before digging in it, and staying on paved paths and roads during outdoor activities. At work places, workers using air pressure equipment should