Blog > April 2014 > The History Of Asbestos

The History Of Asbestos

First named by the Ancient Greeks, asbestos meant “inextinguishable”. While they noted the harmful biological effects, the Greeks were so impressed by its seemingly mystic properties that any negative effects were soon forgotten. The Greeks used it for wicks of the eternal flames of vestal virgins, as napkins and as the funeral dress of kings who were cremated. It was also used by Egyptians for similar reasons, including wrapping the dead during the mummification process.
As time went on, asbestos use declined. However, despite its lack of use, it did crawl back into regular use, becoming popular again in the 1800s, during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, it was used as insulation for steam pipes, boilers, turbines, ovens, kilns and other high-temperature products. The health risks associated with asbestos from ancient times were either forgotten or ignored.
Asbestos use was popular for another hundred years before any ill effects were observed. At the turn of the twentieth century, researchers became aware of the rising number of deaths and lung problems in asbestos mining towns. In 1924, the first diagnosis of the disease asbestosis was made when a woman who had been working with the substance developed the disorder. Dying at only 32, this caused researchers to carry out a study on miners. In 1931 a law was made to increase ventilation and consider asbestosis an excusable work-related disease.
In Australia, the 1900s also saw many laws regarding asbestos evolve. However, it wasn’t until 1970 that industrial action to ban the use of asbestos commenced, phasing it out slowly over the next decade. The substance being fully banned from building products in 1989 but was not removed from products like gaskets and brake linings until 2003 when it was completely prohibited.
For more information about asbestos or to undergo a course about awareness or how to remove asbestos, talk to Keys HR. They have a wide range of asbestos training courses for both employees and homeowners so you can make a smart decision about the deadly product. 
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