Asbestos in Packing Materials

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Asbestos Packing MaterialAsbestos is a mineral that is fibrous in nature. It was widely used through much of the 1900s in such things as fireproofing materials, textiles, protective clothing and packing materials. Asbestos falls into two categories: serpentine and amphibole. Serpentine asbestos is commonly known as chrysotile. This type of asbestos is typically used in packing materials.

Chrysotile, often called white asbestos, has a particular level of popularity because of its greater flexibility in comparison to amphibole varieties. Its fibers are also longer and thinner than amphibole asbestos.

In considering asbestos in packing materials, vermiculite should not be overlooked. An ore, vermiculite can contain asbestos fibers. This ore was discovered in 1824 and commercially mined for the first time in 1923. Once mined and milled, this substance can be popped (using heat), creating a fire-resistant material. In its new form, vermiculite is absorbent, light, free of odor and chemically inert. Vermiculite is used in a wide range of products after it is popped or exfoliated, especially those used in industries related to agriculture, horticulture and construction. It is also used in creating absorbent packing materials.Chrysotile Ore

For part of the 1900s, asbestos was considered a helpful substance because it was both cheap and sturdy. However, in time, it was discovered that asbestos had a downside: it could cause potentially fatal illnesses. Chrysolite asbestos, as well as other forms of the substance, can cause tumors in both animals and humans. One of the most serious diseases that can be caused by exposure to asbestos is mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that invades the protective membrane that covers most of the body’s vital organs. This disease can also spread to other parts of the body, destroying healthy tissue as it moves. Although mesothelioma can occur in those without known asbestos exposure, it most frequently appears in those who have had exposure to asbestos through inhalation or ingestion.

The good news about asbestos is that it is most dangerous when an individual has been exposed to it over a long period of time. This means that those who may have only occasionally come into contact with asbestos-containing packing material may not be in as much danger as those who worked with or around it for a prolonged period of time. However, no one knows for sure that any amount of exposure is safe.