What is Asbestos?

In its natural state, asbestos is commonly a white, brown, or blue fibrous mineral that has many practical applications, but is also a potent and deadly carcinogen. There are six different varieties of asbestos, but the three most common are:

  • Chrysotile, also known as white asbestos, originates in Canada. It is from a “serpentine” rock, which means its fibers are curled and less sharp, pose fewer threats than other types of asbestos and is the type most often used industrially.
  • Amosite, is called brown asbestos, is an “amphibole” from Africa. Amphibole rocks have long, jagged, needle like fibers that are considerably dangerous if inhaled.
  • Crocidolite, or blue asbestos, is an amphibole rock found in Africa and Australia. Blue asbestos is commonly considered the most dangerous type of asbestos.

Microscopic view picture of asbestos fibers
Microscopic view of asbestos fibers

What are the other types of asbestos?

The other three forms of asbestos are tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite.

What products make use of these types of asbetos?

These forms of asbestos have limited industrial use but are nevertheless found in certain consumer products, such as talcum powder and vermiculite.

Why did people use asbestos if it was so dangerous?

Asbestos was one of the world’s most valuable resources for thousands of years. Praised for its versatility, strength, and durability, asbestos was used in many products such as lamp wicks, insulation and clothing. Only in the 20th century, as medical technology became more sophisticated, did doctors finally understand the affect it had on the human body. The great tragedy was that millions of people were exposed to thousands of deadly products, and a great deal of damage was already done by the time use was regulated in the 1970s.

What can be done to stop the dangers of asbestos and mesothelioma?

Once the dangers of asbestos became more understood, many responsible government agencies sought to limit or ban the use of asbestos and regulate asbestos exposure. The United States Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for monitoring asbestos levels in workplaces and communities, and has banned the use of asbestos in new products since 1989. Unfortunately, growing industrial nations such as China and India have no regulations regarding this dangerous substance, and continue to use it extensively in products and construction. If you have been exposed to these dangerous minerals in the past, it is important to contact your doctor immediately, for early diagnosis of asbestos-related conditions increases the chances of survival.

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Connection of Asbestos and Mesothelioma

Asbestos has been praised throughout history because it is fire resistant, strong, and versatile. Ancient Romans wove asbestos fibers into napkins and tablecloths, and merely threw them into a fire to clean them. Even at this primitive stage in human history, many noted that those who were exposed to asbestos suffered terrible breathing problems and general ill health, but lacked the ability to properly diagnose the condition. Thousands of years later, asbestos was used again by metal and ceramic workers to protect themselves from the hazards of their professions. Also, because fire was a constant danger, the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and early 20th centuries used asbestos to safeguard factories and products at the cost of the health of the workers. After a time, asbestos became integral to thousands of products as diverse as brake shoes, cement, insulation, and even oven mitts. Proliferation of this vital but dangerous material threatened the lives of millions.

  • WHITE (CHRYSOTILE) ASBESTOS: This is the most common type of asbestos used in industrial processes in the United States.  White asbestos is thought to be not as dangerous as other types of the mineral.  The main source of this material comes from Quebec, Canada, although there are substantial deposits throughout North America and Europe. 
  • BROWN (AMOSITE) ASBESTOS: Brown asbestos is relatively uncommon, and comes from the extensive mines of South Africa.  It is believed to cause pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma, as well as lung cancer.
  • BLUE (RIEBECKITE) ASBESTOS: Blue asbestos comes from Africa and Australia, and is most often believed to be the most dangerous form of asbestos.  It is well known to cause serious medical conditions such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

 There are three less common types of asbestos:

  • Fibrous Tremolite
  • Fibrous Anthophyllite
  • Fibrous Actinolite

As medical technology became more sophisticated, doctors began to finally understand the effects of asbestos on the human body. Asbestos shards are invisible to the naked eye, and their small size and light weight allows them to remain airborne for an extended period after initial release. Furthermore, because asbestos is fibrous by nature, it continues to break into smaller and smaller particles, meaning one asbestos particle can beget hundreds of smaller ones. The size, weight, and composition of asbestos conspire to increase accumulation in the body which contributes to potential exposure to the deadly cancer mesothelioma.

As asbestos particles enter the body, they begin to accumulate in the respiratory and digestive systems. These fibers are so small they often penetrate organs at the microscopic level, protruding through organs into the body cavity. Mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers mutate the cells on the lining that surrounds the interior body cavity, called the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a layer of cells that secretes lubrication that allows organs like the heart and lungs to move properly. As these cells mutate and die, lungs cannot take in as much air, and the heart experiences great difficulty beating. Also, since the lungs are responsible for providing air to the blood, cancerous mesothelioma cells can spread all throughout the body through the bloodstream, further complicating an already deadly condition.

Link Between Asbestos and Mesothelioma.

There is little doubt about the link between asbestos and mesothelioma. What is in doubt is the role asbestos companies are responsible for their negligence in failing to warn people about the dangers of their products. If you or someone you love suffers from mesothelioma, you have the right to consult an attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer is the first step in pursing a settlement to recover damages caused to you by asbestos. Don’t hesitate though, for your state limits the amount time you have to initiate legal action. Contact a lawyer today.

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Asbestos Related Diseases and Exposure.

Because asbestos has been used in over 3,000 modern products, most people have suffered some degree of exposure at one point in their lives. Fortunately, most asbestos exposure is limited to small quantities of well maintained building materials such as siding, concrete, and insulation. Regular maintenance of these materials is key to preventing asbestos from degenerating into the airborne fibers that wreak so much havoc on the human body. Unfortunately, because asbestos use is so widespread, it is impossible to calculate the damage that even a small quantity of unchecked asbestos can cause.

Asbestos is responsible for number of fatal illnesses. The lightweight nature of the asbestos particle facilitates airborne spreading of these deadly carcinogens, so therefore most asbestos-related diseases affect the respiratory system. These diseases are incurable and agonizing consequences of working in the asbestos industry or contact with asbestos-related products. Even tiny amounts of asbestos can inflict irreversible damage, as symptoms usually only emerge 20 to 30 years after initial exposure.

Common asbestos related diseases:
  • Although mesothelioma is the most common asbestos related disease, asbestosis is another fatal consequence of asbestos exposure. This deadly condition causes the parenchymal tissue within the lungs to become inflamed, which prevents proper air/blood exchange.
  • Asbestos induced lung cancer is a fairly rare, yet still dangerous consequence affecting thousands of innocent people across the United States.  Victims of lung cancer caused by asbestos have usually been exposed to brown or blue asbestos.
  • Asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma are consequences of prolonged asbestos exposure, as are several benign asbestos related diseases. Regardless, any contact with asbestos merits immediate medical consultation, for treatment options and survival rates are greatly improved with early detection.
Asbestos Exposure Facts.

Responsibility for deadly asbestos exposure is primarily due to the proliferation of asbestos related materials combined with the negligence of the injury to properly warn their employees and consumers about the dangers of their products. For years the asbestos industry concealed or minimized the potential dangers their products posed in the name of profits, fearing lawsuits and diminished demand would ruin their businesses. Ultimately, this deception and negligence virtually destroyed the industry and nearly bankrupted several prominent insurance companies responsible for protecting asbestos companies against potential lawsuits.

If you are suffering from mesothelioma, or have lost a loved one to the disease, you may have the right to receive reparations from the asbestos industry that failed to adequately warn consumers of the grave risks associated with their product. A knowledgeable and understanding mesothelioma lawyer will help you fight for justice and the financial compensation to offset those spiraling medical expenses and to provide financial security for your family's future. Don't hesitate though, because the law limits how much time you have to file your claim - contact a mesothelioma lawyer today.

The sad truth about asbestos related diseases and disorders:

Unfortunately, most asbestos-related conditions do not exhibit symptoms until the disease is terminally advanced which prevents proper medical treatment. Most patients diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition rarely survive more than 18 months after diagnosis.

Time is critical if you suspect you have been exposed to asbestos. Early detection and treatment improve the length and quality of life for many victims, but cannot cure these horrific diseases. If you or someone you know has suffered because of asbestos exposure, you must consult an experienced mesothelioma lawyer without delay. The law limits the amount of time you have to pursue your case, so don’t lose your chance for justice.

Search Related Keywords:

Asbestos, white asbestos, blue asbestos, amosite, brown asbestos, lung disease, respiratory disease, pleural plaques, lung fibrosis, round atelectasis, asbestosis.

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Asbestosis Facts

Unlike many asbestos-related conditions, asbestosis is not a form of cancer - though this is a trivial distinction to the thousands of people suffering from the affliction. Due to the prevalence of asbestos and asbestos-related products during the 20th century, many people now suffer from the long-term effects of asbestos exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates that if asbestos exposure cannot be eliminated, it must be limited to a level where it is presents no immediate danger. Unfortunately, an increase of asbestosis cases is one of the consequences of early asbestos proliferation.

Asbestosis is a complicated condition to understand. Inhalation of asbestos fibers causes a build-up of deposits on the miniscule air sacs that honeycomb the lungs. These air sacs, called alveoli, detect the foreign asbestos particle and activate their immune systems to try to remove it. These cells, called macrophages, attempt in vain to destroy the asbestos particle, and when they fail they create scar tissue on the alveoli, which diminishes the air to blood exchange necessary to breathe. Eventually enough scar tissue accumulates between the alveoli and the lung and causes total lung failure. Furthermore, the prevalence of scar tissue can inhibit blood flow to the heart which can lead to heart failure. Asbestosis is also bilateral, which means it affects both lungs simultaneously, an aspect of the condition that contributes to its high fatality rate. Instead of clear, deep breaths, victims experience shorter and shallower inhalation, which is said to resemble sound of Velcro being torn apart.

Asbestosis has a number of signs that are easily confused with other, less dangerous disease. 

Common indications and symptoms of asbestosis include:
  • Shortness of breath:  This symptom
  • Lung tissue scarring
  • Increased likelihood of lung cancer
  • Respiratory failure
  • Lung fibrosis
  • Decreased lung elasticity

Asbestosis is an extremely difficult disease to diagnose and treat.

Some of the most common treatments for asbestosis include:
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Lung drainage
  • Chest percussion
  • Vibration
  • Aerosol medications
What can you do if you have asbestosis?

Coping with asbestosis is a trying and difficult experience. Victims are often faced with few treatment options except expensive oxygen therapies, fluid drainage, and even a lung removal process called a pneumonectomy. Even with these drastic asbestosis treatment options, survival rates for victims of this deadly disease remain grim, at best.

It is only right for the asbestos industry to compensate victims for this detestable negligence. The industry allegedly knew the dangers of their products for years, but instead chose to ignore the health and safety of their workers in order to make a profit.  If you feel angered, betrayed, devastated by the negligence of the asbestos industry, you are not a lone. A knowledgeable and experienced mesothelioma lawyer will fight to see that you are rightfully rewarded for your pain and suffering. Contact one by using our free case review form above.

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Lung Cancer and Facts about Lung Cancer

1. Lung cancer is the most common malignant cancer throughout the world.

Lung cancer is responsible for over 3 million deaths each year. Symptoms of lung cancer, like other forms of asbestos-related conditions, will not manifest for decades after initial exposure. This delay between exposure and symptom enables the cancer to grow longer without treatment, vastly reducing survival rates.

2. Causes of Lung Cancer.

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of most forms of lung cancer, but exposure to asbestos is a close second.

Exposure to a cancer-causing substance called a carcinogen causes instant damage to the tissues of the lungs, and over time enough damaged tissue becomes a tumor.

3. Growth of Lung Cancer.

The direction the cancer tumor grows greatly influences the outcome of the cancer. If the tumor grows in the direction of the trachea (windpipe) it causes difficulty in breathing, bloody coughs, and/or collapsed lungs. Even though a collapsed lung is a very dangerous condition, it enables early detection of the cancer which provides more opportunity for early successful treatment.

4. Lung Cancer Metastasis.

The process, called metastasis, causes cancerous cells to invade and kill cells in healthy organs, further perpetuating cell death. As the cancer spreads through blood and tissue, it can invade the body’s immune system and cause widespread havoc. Lung cancer is far more dangerous when there are no outward symptoms. As the cancer grows and continues to mutate, it begins to infect the oxygen/blood exchange which allows it to spread to other tissues in the body.

5. Common Types of Lung Cancer: Small Cell Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

There are two common types of lung cancer. The first is the less common “Small Cell Cancer,” which makes up only 20% of reported cases.

Small Cell Cancer begins as a tiny malignancy in the large breathing tubes in the lungs. Upon initial genesis, the growth becomes quite large, mutates rapidly, and eventually overwhelms the breathing process.

The second, much more common lung cancer (70%) is called “Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” of which there are five types. These cancers are similar to the smaller lung cancers, but exhibit different growth rates and affect different areas of the lung. The remaining 10% account for a variety of cancers caused mostly by viruses or genetic disorders.

6. Asbestos-related Lung Cancer

Asbestos is one of the best known and widely proliferated carcinogens in existence. Exposure to this substance causes a plethora of health problems, including lung cancer. Although mesothelioma is far more common, lung cancer still poses a major threat. Unfortunately, asbestos-related lung cancer only appears after many years, often without symptoms, and it is not uncommon to suffer multiple asbestos-related afflictions such as mesothelioma and lung cancer simultaneously. People with lung cancer are encouraged not to smoke, for they risk exacerbating their already-perilous condition.

Other Facts on Lung Cancer:

  • Lung cancer is the most common fatal cancer in both men and women: American Lung Association has estimated five-year survival rate of all patients diagnosed with lung cancer is 15 percent.
  • 15 percent of people with lung cancer have never smoked.
  • Cases of lung cancer is more common in developed countries. Factors may include levels of air pollution and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Lung cancer is more common among certain ethnicities. Supported by the January 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, African-Americans and native Hawaiians are 55 percent more likely than Caucasians to develop lung cancer.

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Benign Pleural Diseases

Asbestos exposure can cause a wide array of non-cancerous conditions, most of which fall into the benign pleural disease category. These diseases affect the pleura, which is a liquid filled sac between the lungs and the body cavity that enables proper lung movement during breathing. Most people with these conditions exhibit few outward symptoms, and only X-Rays and CAT scans reveal their existence.

There are three main types of benign pleural diseases, each of which is unique.

Even though these diseases are not cancerous, they are nevertheless serious conditions which require prompt medical attention.

1. Pleural plaques

Pleural plaque is the hardening of the pleura, similar to what happens to arteries in arteriosclerosis. When asbestos fibers enter the lungs they cause the pleura to become thick and scaly. Plaques rarely prevent lung function, and scientists still lack a proper explanation for their occurrence.

2. The Pleural fibrosis.

Pleural fibrosis occurs when asbestos particles invade the pleural fluid and thicken it significantly. This is a much graver condition because the thickness of the pleural fluid inhibits lung movement, causing shortness of breath and labored breathing. While not life threatening, pleural fibrosis can increase susceptibility to other lung conditions, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

3. Pleural diffusion.

This refers to the build-up of pleural fluid in the pleural cavity caused by exposure to asbestos. This fluid must be drained to ensure proper health, but is rarely life threatening. The benign nature of this condition should not lull victims into a false sense of security, for it can often lead to other more serious disabilities.

Suffering from benign pleural diseases?

Suffering from any number of these conditions may not directly threaten your life, but it does indicate that you have been exposed to significant quantities of asbestos at some point. Doctors will frequently monitor their patients with benign pleural disease for any conditions that could lead to mesothelioma.

Help for victims of mesothelioma

If you or someone you love is the victim of mesothelioma or a benign pleural disease, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Let our dedicated and compassionate attorneys help you on your way to justice by getting the financial compensation you may deserve. You must act quickly, for the statute of limitations in your state could end your case before it has a chance to begin. Contact us today.

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Asbestos Containing Products

The following list of asbestos products was updated to include new product findings.

The Environmental Protection Agency banned any use of asbestos in new products in 1989, and sought to regulate incidents where it is already in use. Because the level of asbestos proliferation is well known, experts frequently speculate about a future pandemic of asbestos-related conditions because symptoms of these conditions do not appear until 20 to 30 years after exposure. 

1. Asbestos construction products:

There are a number of asbestos containing construction products because it is a strong and versatile element.  Some of the more common asbestos products include:

  • Acoustical panels
  • Acoustic tiling
  • Adhesive
  • Asbestos board
  • Asbestos cloth
  • Asbestos sponge block
  • Asbestos-faced mineral wool
  • Asbestos textile
  • Asbestos tiling
  • Asphalt
  • Attic insulation
  • Bonding cement
  • Calcium silicate insulation
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Cork Board
  • Cork Coverings
  • Flooring backing
  • Tiles Wallboard
  • Siding and Roofing Friction Materials
  • Roofing shingles
  • Vinyl floor tiles
  • Vinyl wall flooring
  • Insulation – found in and around pipes, air ducts, boilers, thermal paper products, and electrical wiring.
  • Spackling
  • Patching
  • Taping Compounds
  • Putty
  • Caulk adhesives
  • Joint compounds
  • Thermal tape
  • Fireproofing
  • Acoustical Texture Products
  • Textured paint and coatings
  • Decorative tiling
  • Fire blankets
  • Curtains
  • Doors

2. Other asbestos-containing products:

  • Textile and Cloth Products
  • Blankets
  • Pajamas
  • Oven mitts
  • Aprons
  • Gloves
  • Gaskets and Packings
  • Industrial packing compounds
  • High pressure packing materials
  • Extreme temperature gaskets.
  • Friction materials
  • Railroad
  • Automotive brakes
  • Clutches
  • Laboratory hoods and table tops

3. Asbestos containing brakes

Brake pads have to withstand huge amounts of extreme heat caused by the friction of braking, and asbestos helps the pads resist damage.  Unfortunately, as the brakes degrade they can release potentially deadly asbestos fibers into the air. 

The two primary offenders of asbestos containing brakes are Raymark Corporation and Bendix.  Raymark was named by the U.S. Department of Justice as the subject of a $20 million lawsuit in 1997 that claimed they polluted the environment with asbestos for 70 years as they manufactured their asbestos containing brakes. Bendix used asbestos in brake pads up until 2002, until they were successfully sued for $53 million due to the death of a New York man.  These companies were named in other successful legal actions by victims of asbestos containing brakes, and currently there are 47,000 pending lawsuits against Bendix alone.

W.R. Grace Libby Mine, Montana. Asbestos and Zonolite

Zolonite is the brand name of W. R. Grace and Company-produced vermiculite, an asbestos-related product used in a variety of horticulture products, brake pads, acoustic tiles, and insulation.

NPR Story on W.R Grace Aired 11/02/2006:

A story on National Public Radio that aired on 11/2/2006 illustrated the asbestos problems facing the people of Libby Montana.

Although W.R. Grace has a number of asbestos processing plants throughout the country, a large mining operation in Libby, Montana was shut down by the U.S. government in 1990 in response to the dangers posed by asbestos mines.  Unfortunately, more than 35 million people have some form of Zolonite and vermiculite in their homes.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous element that has been used since ancient times. Historically, asbestos has been used in a diverse amount of products such as fabrics and lamp wicks. Ancient peoples valued the tough material, because it is flame repellant and durable. The modern post-industrial era utilizes asbestos in over 3000 products, most extensively in the construction industry. Tiling, cement, insulation, car brakes and gaskets are all known to contain asbestos.

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Asbestos in the Home and Workplace

Asbestos exposure is not limited to manufacturing work sites. Many homes, schools, churches, office buildings, and recreation centers contained significant amounts of asbestos.

Asbestos in the Home

Asbestos can be found in many places of the home. It is important to check an old home for asbestos. If you find asbestos in the home - DO NOT move or disturb it. Removal of asbestos in a home should be done by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.

  • Asbestos vinyl floor tiles
  • Ceiling Tiles
  • Fireplace shields
  • Doors
  • Roof Shingles
Asbestos in the Workplace

While those who worked in asbestos quarries and manufacturing centers are the most at risk, significant amounts of unrelated people were indirectly endangered. Workers often carried microscopic asbestos fibers home with then in their clothes and hair which caused secondary exposure to their families and friends.

Furthermore, asbestos contamination in homes affected many not directly involved in the asbestos production or construction industries.

A few at risk professions for asbestos exposure are:

• Automotive mechanics
• Boiler makers
• Bricklayers
• Building Inspectors
• Carpenters
• Electricians
• Insulators
• Iron workers
• Laborers
• Longshoremen
• Maintenance workers
• Merchant marines
• Millwrights
• Painters
• Plasterers
• Plumbers
• Roofers
• Sheet metal workers
• Tile setters
• U.S. Navy veterans
• Welders

These professions suffered the most significant exposure to asbestos. It is critically important that if you or a loved one has worked in any of these industries that you consult a doctor immediately. Early detection of asbestos-related diseases enables the maximum amount of treatment options.

Occupational-induced mesothelioma.

No one should have to face a painful and premature death because of their chosen profession.  If you or someone you love has been the victim of occupational-induced mesothelioma, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering.  The asbestos industry allegedly knew for decades that their product was dangerous, but chose to ignore the suffering of the people exposed to this deadly carcinogen. 

Let our dedicated, experienced, and compassionate mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease lawyers help you take a stand against the uncaring industry that put their profits ahead of your health.  You are not alone.  Thousands of other people across the country are in your exact situation, and our lawyers are standing by, ready to take your case.  You may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering, but time constraints called statutes of limitations drastically restrict how long you can pursue your case, and if you hesitate you could lose your chance for justice.  Let us help you.  Make the call today.

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Known Asbestos Worksites

Because asbestos was such a valued and versatile product, it made its way into many worksites throughout the United States. This exposure presents an enormous danger to a broad cross-section of the population, as all of us have been exposed to asbestos at one time or another. Even though asbestos has been phased out of many worksites since the 1980s, millions suffered prior exposure multiple times every day.

A few common worksites where asbestos concentration is highest include:

Most people are surprised when they learn where asbestos is found.

Asbestos manufacturers– obvious sources of asbestos exposure, including the surrounding towns, ecosystems, and water supplies used by the plant.

Automobile parts manufacture and repairparticularly of brakes, gaskets, and clutches that used asbestos in their linings to reduce heat damage caused by friction.
– in supplies used for insulation and welding materials.

Oil Refineries need substantial asbestos containment materials to prevent potential fire hazards.

Power Plants – Asbestos was used to insulate the thousands of incoming and outgoing wires and to reduce heat damage to delicate electronic systems.

Construction Sites used asbestos for protection for welders and in insulation. Modern cement also contains significant asbestos.

Cement Plants – Cement contains asbestos to provide strength and also heat insulation.

Is there any other way to contract deadly diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, or lung cancer?

Working in these sites was not the only danger. Tiny airborne asbestos particles settled on the hair and clothes of many workers, which were carried home with them. Once these particles enter the home, they spread through the living area where they resettle on furniture, bedding, and clothing.  Anyone entering the home is potentially at risk of developing mesothelioma.  Consequently, cases of mesothelioma and asbestos-related conditions are frequently found in the families of those who worked in asbestos sites.

The dangers of asbestos were not left behind at the worksite. If you or your family has suffered because of residual asbestos exposure, you should seek legal counsel without delay. There's no need to suffer from the negligence of a short-sighted industry. The law limits how much time you have to file your claim, so hesitation can end your case before it begins. The financial security of your family is in your hands. Contact a lawyer today.

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What is Asbestos? Types of Asbestos, products & dangers of asbestos updated on 6/05/2013