- Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with a host of seemingly extraordinary qualities. Strong, durable, with heat resistant and insulating properties, it can be put to a remarkable number of uses. It’s also easy and cheap to produce.
- Consequently asbestos has been mined in locations worldwide and used in an astonishing number of ways from ship building, construction and the automobile industries, to furniture and clothing manufacture, plastic and household laundry products. The list is endless and covers every aspect of commercial and domestic life.
Warning Signs Are Ignored
By the mid 20th century research had established a link between exposure to asbestos fibres and a number of serious respiratory diseases. By the 1920s leading medical journals were publishing reports on the dangers of asbestos-related illnesses and instances of related diseases continued to rise. However several decades were to pass before any form of regulation to limit its use were put in place.
As the medical evidence started to increase, so did the influence of the thriving and prosperous asbestos companies. Indeed in more recent years the growing economic influence of developing countries has led to a massive increase in demand for cheap construction materials.