Asbestos exposure has been a health risk for thousands of years. However, there has only been a record of the production, consumption, and import/export of this deadly carcinogen since the early 1900′s. A U.S. geological survey released on November 4th of 2010, indicates 136,000 tons of asbestos was produced in the U.S. in 1973. Since this peak, the production and exportation has steadily decreased over the decades to follow, and completely halted in 2003.
Usually when people think of asbestos, they think of a single mineral. However, there are six types of asbestos fibers; chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite asbestos, tremolite asbestos, and actinolite asbestos. Chrysotile is the most common produced, and is still manufactured on a global scale today.
Several properties that make asbestos so versatile and cost effective are high tensile strength, chemical and thermal stability, high flexibility, low electrical conductivity, and large surface area. The leading domestic markets are roofing products, gaskets, and friction products.
About 2.15 million tons of asbestos with a value exceeding an estimated $500 million was produced in 17 countries in 2003. The major producing countries, in decreasing order of production, were Russia, China, Canada, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Zimbabwe. These countries accounted for about 96 percent of world production.
Almost everyone on the planet has been exposed to asbestos in varying degrees. Due to the aggressive nature of the disease, even those who have suffered only minimal exposure are at risk of contracting the disease.
If you have contracted Mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos, the general survival rate is low.The prognosis is officially determined by a standard measure known as the relative five-year survival rate. This number pertains to how man patients are still alive five years after being diagnosed with the disease. As of data collected by the U.S. Department f Health and Human Services, the relative survival rate is around 10 percent. This shows promise because this statistic is drastically higher than it was only a decade ago. The year-one survival rate has improved as well now standing at around 40 percent. Either way the prognosis and survival rate once diagnosed with mesothelioma remains quite poor indeed, in relation to other forms of malignant cancers.