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The Amphibole Family: Asbestos - Assignment Example

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The paper “The Amphibole Family: Asbestos” evaluates asbestos, the name given to a group of six different fibrous minerals (amosite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and the fibrous varieties of tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite) that occur naturally in the environment…
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The Amphibole Family: Asbestos
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Download file to see previous pages Asbestos minerals are widespread in the environment. They may occur in large natural deposits, or as contaminants in other minerals. Asbestos may be found in soil that is formed from the erosion of asbestos-bearing rock. You are most likely to be exposed to asbestos by breathing in asbestos fibers that are suspended in air. These fibers can come from naturally occurring sources of asbestos or from the wearing down or disturbance of manufactured products including insulation, automotive brakes and clutches, ceiling and floor tiles, drywall, roof shingles, and cement.
Harmful particles of asbestos can enter our body in various ways. If we breathe asbestos fibers into our lungs, some of the fibers will be deposited in the air passages and on the cells that make up your lungs. Most fibers are removed from the lungs by being carried away or coughed up in a layer of mucus to the throat, where they are swallowed into the stomach. Some fibers may move through the lungs and can remain in place for drywall and may never be removed from the body. One way to see if a chemical will hurt people is to learn how the chemical is absorbed, used, and released by the body. Information on the health effects of asbestos in people comes mostly from studies of people who were exposed in the past to levels of asbestos fibers in workplace air. Workers who repeatedly breathe in asbestos fibers may develop a slow buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs and in the membrane that surrounds the lungs. This scar-like tissue does not expand and contract like normal lung tissue and so breathing becomes difficult.
Blood flow to the lung may also be decreased, and this causes the heart to enlarge. This disease is called asbestosis. People with asbestosis have shortness of breath, often accompanied by a cough. This is a serious disease and can eventually lead to disability or death in people exposed to high amounts of asbestos over a long period. Changes in the membrane surrounding the lung, called pleural plaques, are quite common in people occupationally exposed to asbestos and are sometimes found in people living in areas with high environmental levels of asbestos. Asbestos workers have increased chances of getting two principal types of cancer: cancer of the lung tissue itself and mesothelioma, a cancer of the thin membrane that surrounds the lung and other internal organs. Inhalation of asbestos is the principal route of exposure of public health concern. Some epidemiological studies have also indicated that oral exposure may be linked to the development of gastrointestinal cancer. There is no doubt that the inhalation of asbestos can lead to increased risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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