Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals that are resistant to heat and corrosion. Products, such as insulation for pipes (steam lines for example), floor tiles, building materials, and in vehicle brakes and clutches may contain asbestos. Asbestos includes the mineral fibers chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and other materials derived from these mineral fibers. Heavy exposures occur during the removal of asbestos materials because of renovation, repairs, or demolition.
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Asbestos is a recognized health hazard, and OSHA and the EPA strictly regulate the use of it in all industries. Asbestos fibers associated with health risks are too small to be seen with the naked eye. Breathing these tiny asbestos fibers can cause scar-like tissue in the lungs called asbestosis and lead to the loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death. Asbestos also causes cancer of the lung and other diseases such as mesothelioma, which is a fatal malignant tumor of the cavity of the lung or stomach.
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