Asbestos

asbestos (mineral)

asbestos, common name for any of a variety of silicate minerals within the amphibole and serpentine groups that are fibrous in structure and more or less resistant to acid and fire. Chrysotile asbestos, a form of serpentine, is the chief commercial asbestos. Varieties of amphibole asbestos are amosite, used in insulating materials; crocidolite, or blue asbestos, used for making asbestos-cement products; and tremolite, used in laboratories for filtering chemicals. Asbestos is usually found comprising veins in other rock; in most cases it appears to be the product of metamorphism. The asbestos-producing nations are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, and Canada. Asbestos is mined both in open quarries and underground.

Since the 1960s, asbestos has been recognized as a potent carcinogen and serious health hazard. Inhalation of airborne asbestos fibers has been established as the cause of asbestosis (thickening and scarring of lung tissue) and as a cause of mesothelioma (a highly lethal tumor of the pleura) as well as of cancers of the lung, intestines, and liver. In 1972, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration began regulating asbestos and strengthening work safety standards. Large class action lawsuits were filed and won against asbestos companies, which had probable prior knowledge of the dangers involved. In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency imposed a ban on 94% of U.S. asbestos production and imports, to be phased in over a seven year period. Most current asbestos exposure comes from asbestos in older buildings and products such as automobile brakes.

See P. H. Riordon and V. F. Hollister, Geology of Asbestos Deposits (1981); S. S. Chissick and R. Derricott, Asbestos: Properties, Applications and Hazards (1983).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Legal Responses to Indoor Air Pollution
Frank B. Cross.
Quorum Books, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "The Health Risk from Indoor Asbestos"
Conflict Resolution and Public Policy
Miriam K. Mills.
Greenwood Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "The Asbestos Model: Labor and Citizen Groups and a Multipronged Approach to Regulatory Change"
The Crisis Manager: Facing Risk and Responsibility
Otto Lerbinger.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Manville Corporation and Asbestos" begins on p. 230
The Compassionate Conservative: Assuming Responsibility and Respecting Human Dignity
Joseph J. Jacobs.
ICS Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "The Asbestos Scare" begins on p. 155
Corporate Corruption: The Abuse of Power
Marshall B. Clinard.
Praeger, 1990
Librarian’s tip: "The Deadly Asbestos Industry" begins on p. 97
The Asbestos Cancer Epidemic
LaDou, Joseph.
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 112, No. 3, March 2004
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Radiographic Abnormalities and Exposure to Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite in the Community of Libby, Montana, USA
Peipins, Lucy A.; Lewin, Michael; Campolucci, Sharon; Lybarger, Jeffrey A.; Miller, Aubrey; Middleton, Dan; Weis, Christopher; Spence, Michael; Black, Brad; Kapil, Vikas.
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 111, No. 14, November 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Mechanisms of the Genotoxicity of Crocidolite Asbestos in Mammalian Cells: Implication from Mutation Patterns Induced by Reactive Oxygen Species. (Articles)
Xu, An; Zhou, Hongning; Yu, Dennis Zengliang; Hei, Tom K.
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 110, No. 10, October 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Increased Risk of Malignant Mesothelioma of the Pleura after Residential or Domestic Exposure to Asbestos: A Case-Control Study in Casale Monferrato, Italy. (Articles)
Magnani, Corrado; Dalmasso, Paola; Biggeri, Annibale; Ivaldi, Cristiana; Mirabelli, Dario; Terracini, Benedetto.
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 109, No. 9, September 2001
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
An Unusual Case of Mixed-Dust Exposure Involving a "Noncommercial" Asbestos
Dodson, Ronald F.; Levin, Jeffrey L.
Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 109, No. 2, February 2001
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Lethal Work: A History of the Asbestos Tragedy in Scotland
Ronald Johnston; Arthur McIvor.
Tuckwell Press, 2000
Asbestos Litigation Costs and Compensation: An Interim Report
Stephen J. Carroll; Deborah Hensler; Allan Abrahamse; Jennifer Gross; Michelle White; Scott Ashwood; Elizabeth Sloss.
Rand Institute for Civil Justice, 2002
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