|Asbestos cancer is a malignant tumor caused by exposure
to asbestos fibers. Asbestos exposure is most commonly associated with
mesothelioma and lung cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer affecting
the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen, while traditional lung
cancer occurs in the tissue of the lung’s lobes.
| What is Asbestos?
| For most individuals, especially those born in the last
40 years, the mention of asbestos conjures up thoughts of a dangerous
substance that's sickened many people and caused myriad deaths around
the world. That's an accurate description.
A common misconception on the part of many individuals, however, is that
asbestos is a hazardous man-made substance, conjured up in factories
around the world for commercial use. The truth is, however, that
asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that can be found in hundreds
of countries on just about every continent. As a matter of fact,
asbestos is still mined in several of these countries, including Canada
and Russia. Other countries have outlawed the mining of asbestos.
Asbestos is a highly-fibrous mineral with long, thin, separable fibers.
The thin fibers can be spun and woven together, and possess valuable
heat-resistant properties that make asbestos suitable for insulation and
other such products. Indeed, for decades, asbestos was the material of
choice for many industries that were manufacturing products for which
heat resistance, low electrical conductivity, flexibility, and high
tensile strength were essential factors. Today, there are other
There are two kinds of asbestos. The serpentine variety is curly.
Chrysotile asbestos, most commonly used for industrial purposes, is from
the serpentine family. Other asbestos fibers, from the amphibole family,
are very straight and needle-like. Amosite, crocidolite, tremolite,
actinolite, and anthophyllite are amphibole asbestos varieties.
Currently, chrysotile asbestos is the only type mined on a wide-scale
though a handful of countries continue to mine other forms. However,
worldwide outrage about the use of dangerous asbestos has forced many
countries to reconsider their position on mining.