It might come as a surprise to learn that asbestos has been used all over the world for centuries. With uses dating back at least 4,500 years, the insulating and heat resistant properties of asbestos have been a valuable (and deadly) asset to many different cultures and societies. Evidence shows that early inhabitants in Finland used asbestos to strengthen their pots and cooking utensils.
Below we will take a better look at asbestos use throughout history within a timeline. This information was obtained from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization:
2000 BC Egyptians use asbestos to make burial shrouds.
1828 First U.S. patent for asbestos is issued.
1858 Johns-Manville was founded.
1860s Use of asbestos in industry and construction expands dramatically, exposing large numbers of workers to asbestos dust.
1906 Dr. Montague Murray reported an uncommonly high mortality rate amongst asbestos workers.
1918 Insurance companies began refusing to sell insurance to asbestos workers.
1922 U.S. Navy lists asbestos work as hazardous and recommends the use of respirators.
1943 Dr. LeRoy Gardner reports asbestos a “Likely Carcinogen”
1964 Industrial representatives reported, “the only safe amount of asbestos dust exposure was zero.”
1976 The International Agency for Research on Cancer list asbestos as a human carcinogen and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health calls for a ban on asbestos in US workplaces.
1976 Congress passed The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 which gave EPA authority to test and regulate toxic chemicals including asbestos.
2001 The collapse of the World Trade Center towers led to the release of hundreds of tons of asbestos from the towers.
2002 U.S. stops mining asbestos in California.
2013 More than 50 countries have banned asbestos – but the USA has not.
Over time, different countries realized the devastating effects that asbestos exposure can have on human health. Today, asbestos is still not banned in America. Workers are still exposed to the substance, along with their families, and innocent individuals breathe in the deadly dust when asbestos removal procedures are not followed.
Don’t you think, after all these years, it is time to ban asbestos for good?