Asbestos, the mention of the word makes your skin crawl but what is it, will it harm your health and is it really banned from use? The answer is a little complicated but there is hope.
Asbestos is an organic occurring silicate mineral with a fibrous structure making it ideal for use in manufacturing large structures such as ship and home-building materials. Evidence of its first usage dates back to the Stone Age in the making of ceramic pots.
There are six types of asbestos, all of which are composed of long and thin fibrous crystals, each particle being composed of many microscopic "fibrils" that may be released into the atmosphere by corrosion and other processes. Inhalation of these fibres may lead to serious lung conditions, including Mesothelioma and Asbestosis.
Asbestos bans came to the forefront in the 1970's, when contractors, such as shipbuilders, became diagnosed with various severe respiratory health issues at an alarming rate. Further scientific studies and tests were conducted proving the diseases were a result of frequent and re-occurring asbestos exposure.
In the roofing industry, asbestos is outlawed in the manufacture of new:
Adhesives, sealants, roof and non-roof coatings