Global Asbestos Awareness Week: April 1-7


Each year, ADAO (Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization) dedicates April 1-7 to increasing awareness of asbestos and preventing exposure by bringing together experts and victims from around the world to share, learn, and take action.  

In light of Global Asbestos Awareness Week, we compiled these little-known facts about asbestos. The more you know, the more you can do your part to prevent exposure and spread awareness.

  1. What is asbestos? Asbestos is a natural occurring mineral (a mineral like coal or quartz) found in certain rock formations around the world. A good amount of the soil on this earth contains varying amounts of naturally occurring asbestos, just as a good amount of the soil on this earth contains varying amounts of quartz. You may even have some asbestos your own backyard.
  2. Asbestos is not a problem unless it becomes airborne and gets into the lungs. Asbestos fibers that are released into the air where they can be inhaled can be a health hazard.
  3. Asbestos fibers split down the middle like a hair splitting, unlike most fibers that break in half the long way horizontally.
  4. Fun fact: Did you know The California state rock is serpentine? And guess what? One of the primary serpentine minerals is chrysotile, which is white asbestos.
  5. Just like lead, there is a regulatory limit for how much asbestos should be in your water. The U.S. Public Health Service Drinking Water Standards recommend no more than a limit of eight million fibers per liter.
  6. Asbestos is 10 times stronger than iron.
  7. Did you know that there is a town in Canada called Asbestos? The town, located in the province of Quebec, it used to be an asbestos mining town and used to have the world’s largest asbestos mine. In 2011, all asbestos mining operations were halted and the town is now trying to find a new identity.
  8. Asbestos is fire-resistant. Even though it appears soft and feathery, it can withstand the fiercest heat. And because it’s so flexible, it can be woven into cloth. In fact, asbestos is the only mineral that can be woven into cloth. Asbestos fibers are stronger than organic fibers, such cotton, rayon or nylon. The U.S. Postal Service had asbestos woven into fireproof mailbags.
  9. Asbestos-cement pipe and sheets are still widely used for many purposes, such as wall panels in ventilation systems, water and wastewater systems. Since 1930, the amount of asbestos-cement pipe that has been used can circle the earth 8 times over and still run to the moon and back! But remember that asbestos-cement (transite) pipe and sheet do not release fibers when intact, but release fibers if cut or sawed.
  10. No one lives asbestos-free. Naturally occurring asbestos surrounds us everywhere – in the air, in the water, and in the soil. Human beings have always lived with a certain amount of asbestos. It is the dose that makes the poison.
  11. Wasn’t asbestos outlawed? No. Asbestos is still used in many products today, described as “Mineral Fibers”.
  12. Remember, there’s a difference between Permissible Exposure Levels (PEL) and Safe levels. Cal-OSHA designates PEL for asbestos as 0.1 f/cc. However, there is no safe level of exposure.

If you have questions on asbestos, contact A-Tech Consulting and we’d happy to help!

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