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Asbestos is prohibited! What is harmful to health material with super properties?

According to the results of numerous studies, asbestos was included in the list of carcinogens, exposure to which causes cancer. Due to the serious threat to human health, asbestos was banned in more than 70 countries around the world in the early 2000s

In Ukraine, asbestos (fibrous silicate) is banned only from 2022.

The association agreement with the EU obliges Ukraine to ban the use of asbestos in production. Therefore, on September 6, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada adopted Law No. 4142 "On the Public Health System", which prohibits the use of asbestos, products and materials containing it in construction.

Where is asbestos used?

Due to its properties (high strength, plasticity, resistance to high temperatures), asbestos, or as it is also called "mountain flax", has often been used since ancient times, in particular, in construction. With technical progress, asbestos has become a valuable material in industry (in particular, chemical), rocket and mechanical engineering, etc.

Amphibole-asbestos and chrysotile-asbestos are distinguished by structure and mineralogical features. The second is used for the production of:

- slate (for roofing)

- asbestos pipes (for water supply, sewage, cable networks, chimneys, etc.)

- asbestos-cement sheets (for thermal insulation of premises: in industry, in private buildings)

- asbestos cords and other materials (for thermal insulation and flexibility)

- asbestos fabric (for the production of thermal protective overalls)

In Ukraine, asbestos was used in the production of building materials, primarily slate

At first, the harmful effects of asbestos were not talked about enough because it had not yet been fully researched.

How is asbestos harmful?

Despite all the advantages in properties, asbestos is considered toxic and dangerous.

The danger caused by exposure to chrysotile asbestos has been confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to world statistics, every year more than 100 thousand people in the world die from exposure to harmful asbestos fibers.

Almost 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Half of occupational cancer deaths are caused by asbestos. And this harmful mineral caused several thousand deaths at home.

Scientists have also investigated the excessive harm of tobacco smoke and asbestos fibers in combination, these factors increase the risk of lung cancer.

Asbestos dust and nanoparticles are especially dangerous for human respiratory organs. In the lungs, even a microparticle of asbestos can cause a serious chronic disease, including cancer.

All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans, so they cause oncology, in particular, cancer of the lungs, larynx, and ovaries. And exposure to asbestos is associated with diseases such as asbestosis (pulmonary fibrosis), as well as plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura.

Despite the fact that according to the class of danger, asbestos is classified as a carcinogenic material, its main harm to the body is the development of asbestosis with long-term inhalation of dust in large quantities. This disease manifests itself in organic changes in lung tissue (formation of scars and nodules).

If you inhale asbestos dust, such hard needles cut into the cells of the body (photo from open sources)

Getting through the respiratory tract in amphibole along with calcium, asbestos dust contains iron, which affects the fiber structure. Due to the iron content, the fiber has the shape of hard needles. Getting into the lungs, it injures the cells.

Amphibole fibers do not dissolve under the influence of the acidic environment of the body. In the case of mechanical irritation of respiratory tract tissues by dust microfibers, the most likely development of bronchitis. Also, the development of asbestosis is possible - in this disease, dust that settles in the lungs causes cicatricial changes in the lung tissue.

What steps are in place to protect against asbestos exposure?

The use of amphibole asbestos in all forms has been banned today. First of all, the technology of spraying asbestos on metal structures was withdrawn from use

There are clear sanitary requirements that should protect against exposure to asbestos in everyday life:

- asbestos-containing building materials must have an appropriate certificate;

- wall panels and partitions made of this material are covered with two or three coats;

- in rooms where wet cleaning and disinfection are carried out, asbestos products must withstand the appropriate mode of action of disinfectants;

- banned the use of asbestos in ventilation boxes.

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