Interesting Asbestos Facts

  • The word "Asbestos" comes from a Greek word meaning inextinguishable or indestructible
  • In ancient times asbestos was prescribed for skin conditions
  • Emperor Charlemagne is said to have had a tablecloth made of asbestos. He impressed his guests by throwing the tablecloth into the fire and then removing it, undamaged.
  • The dangers of asbestos have been suspected for centuries: slaves who wove asbestos fibers into cloth were noted to suffer from lung conditions.
  • Canada continues to export chrysotile asbestos throughout the world, particularly to developing countries, and is the world's second largest exporter of asbestos. However, there is a movement to curb the exportation of this dangerous substance.
  • Asbestos, Quebec is the site of the world's largest asbestos mine.
  • OSHA regulations limit asbestos exposure to 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc) over an 8 hour period. However, there is no "safe" exposure level to asbestos.
  • It is estimated that 10,000 Americans die every year from asbestos related conditions.
  • Asbestos related deaths continue to increase. According to the CDC, mesothelioma deaths in the U.S. are likely to peak in 2010.
  • This trend is due to the long latency period of asbestos disease. It can take up to 50 years for conditions to manifest themselves and we are now seeing the results of asbestos use throughout past decades.
  • Asbestos litigation is one of the largest, longest-running mass torts in the United States.
  • Defendants and their insurance companies have spent more than $70 billion on asbestos litigation in the U.S.
  • Developing countries, such as India and China, are the world's main consumers of asbestos products. These countries have few regulations in place to protect their workers, and inadequate legal and medical systems to respond to the inevitable health crisis that asbestos will produce.
  • The state with the highest malignant mesothelioma death rate is Alaska, at 32.8 deaths per million. Alaska is followed by Maine, at 26.4 deaths per million.