The dangers of asbestos to human health

Before the end of the last century asbestos was widely used in industry and construction. Asbestos-containing materials were used for making shingles, flat and corrugated slate plates, ventilation ducts and other building elements.

But recently the situation has changed dramatically. The result of many years of medical research, the asbestos was classified as a carcinogen of the first group. In the late 90-ies of the last century in many European countries have almost completely abandoned the use of asbestos in industry, construction and automotive industries.

Today there has been heated debate regarding whether the dangers of asbestos to health and what kind of impact it has on the human body.

What is an asbestos

Asbestos is the General name for a category of minerals from the group of silicates, which have a natural origin. The main deposits of this raw material are located in the Urals. The minerals of this group are characterized by a high degree of absorption, chemical resistance, low rates of electrical and thermal conductivity.

For many centuries people have successfully used asbestos in a variety of areas of life. Due to its high resistance to fire, high temperatures, weather conditions and aggressive chemicals a mineral found wide application in:

  • automotive industry;
  • construction;
  • the design of space rockets;
  • the industrial sector;
  • the water system;
  • the manufacture of varnishes, paints and other finishing materials.

The greatest application of mineral found in the construction sector. It is used in the production of facade tiles, insulation materials, slate, concrete blocks, bricks, sealants, asfaltobetonnyh, construction, lubricant compounds.

In addition, asbestos for a long period of time was used in the manufacture of a wide range of consumer goods – Talca, school chalks, heaters, garden tools, and even some cosmetics. But in the late 80-ies it was revealed that asbestos is a serious danger to human health.

The types of asbestos

The dangers of asbestos to humans depends on the variety of the mineral. Allocated two main types of asbestos, which differ in composition and structure of the fibers:

  • chrysotile;
  • amphibole.

Chrysotile asbestos, the impact on the human body which is considered less harmful, also belongs to the category of carcinogens, i.e. substances that trigger the development of cancer.

But the most dangerous to humans amphibole asbestos, which can cause the development of bronchitis, Oncology (cancer of the larynx, lung), emphysema, asbestosis, fibrosis.

Asbestos dust through the respiratory tract enters the human body, causing severe diseases. This mineral is one of the most aggressive carcinogens and is banned in almost all countries of the world.

The dangers of asbestos to humans

Than asbestos harmful to the human body? It depends on the degree of contacting of the respiratory tract to asbestos. The main risk mineral responsible for people who for a long time in close contact with asbestos was mined or processed it for production.

At mechanical destruction of products containing this mineral, is formed of asbestos dust that enters the lungs. Asbestos poisoning is not immediate, as dust gradually accumulates in the body. In most cases, the negative impact of the mineral manifests itself in 6-10 years and more.

Often the harmfulness of asbestos is the development of bronchitis and asbestosis. This is due to the fact that, passing through the bronchi, particles of dust are deposited on their walls, which leads to irritation of the mucosal surface. Asbestosis is a more severe disease which is accompanied by accumulation of dust inside the lungs, which leads to the formation of scar formations on the surface of the respiratory organs.

The mineral can cause cancer? It should be noted that the mineral is not carcinogenic as such, it acts as a kind of "conductor", accelerating and facilitating access to other dangerous carcinogens to the human body. In the result of poisoning by asbestos dust may develop a rare cancer called mesothelioma.

Asbestos minerals belong to fireproof. But especially harmful is asbestos to the health when heated. This is because an asbestos sheet when it is heated dramatically changes the fiber structure and physical characteristics, and its toxic properties are the most pronounced.

Quite often the blank piece of mineral used for thermal insulation in the kitchen areas. It is strictly prohibited, as its surface may deteriorate and crumble, releasing into the air a noxious dust that will settle in the lungs.


Currently, almost all countries of the world, including Russia, the use of amphibole mineral is strictly prohibited. Also banned the use of asbestos spraying technology on the metal structures.

In order to reduce tominimize the harm of asbestos minerals, it is necessary to try to exclude all possible risk factors.

  • Completely abandon the use of any asbestos-containing elements and details in everyday life. If this is impossible, it is necessary to carefully check the materials used for the presence of security certificates.
  • In construction and other fields only need to use asbestos materials of high density, which do not disintegrate and do not crumble under mechanical stress.
  • Asbestos waste must be packaged and disposed of by special technology.
  • At production facilities, whose activity is connected directly with the data content, must be strictly adhered to and monitored standards for levels of fibres in the air.
  • Waste construction materials, includes this material may not be used for leveling the road surface gradually under the pressure of traffic and pedestrians it will collapse, releasing the air of harmful dust.
  • Do not use the mineral in the process of installation of the ventilation system.
  • If the wall is made of asbestos bricks, they recommended at least 3 times to cover a special insulating compound.

With strict adherence to all preventive measures, safety rules and sanitary standards asbestos will not bring any harm to human health.