For all of the suffering asbestos has inflicted on the public, it’s natural to wonder why it was ever used in the first place. A brief look at the history of the substance reveals not only its useful properties but also the negligence surrounding its use that has shattered and ended thousands of lives.
A good insulator
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral found in rocks and soil. It is extremely resistant to heat, which has made it an attractive option for insulation. The history of asbestos use by humans goes back thousands of years to when people used it to insulate clay pots. Heavy industrial use did not arrive until the late Nineteenth Century when developers prized it for its ability to insulate as well as its cheapness and availability.
But very dangerous
If only the general public knew then what it knows now. A few people did know the dangers of asbestos as early as 1906, when the first documented death caused by asbestos exposure occurred. Their silence and the negligence of people in power throughout the Twentieth Century has resulted in untold suffering and death.
When humans inhale asbestos fibers, the tiny particles imbed themselves in lung tissues where they remain and cause extreme damage. At least 100,000 people die each year from asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. The people most at risk are those who worked in locations where there was a need for heavy insulation such as in boiler rooms, shipyards and around steam plants and pipes.
Help for those who have suffered
If you or someone close to you has suffered due to asbestos exposure, you have legal options at your disposal. The history of negligence and the damage it has caused cannot be undone, but financial relief can help those who have suffered and continue to suffer due to this dangerous substance and the carelessness that lead to its widespread use.