Asbestos (pronounced // or //) is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals, which all have in common their eponymous asbestiform habit: long (roughly 1:20 aspect ratio), thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic “fibrils” that can be released by abrasion and other processes. They are commonly known by their colors, as blue asbestos, brown asbestos, white asbestos, and green asbestos.
It is now known that prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis). Health issues related to asbestos exposure can be found in records dating back to Roman times. By the beginning of the 20th century concerns were beginning to be raised, which escalated in severity during the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1980s and 1990s asbestos trade and use started to become banned outright, phased out, or heavily restricted in an increasing number of countries. -Wikipedia
Moreover, pleural mesothelioma, or mesothelioma of the lungs, is the most common type of cancer that is related to Asbestos. It is sad to say that about 43,000 people die from mesothelioma each year around the globe. And because of this, asbestos is banned in at least 60 countries around the world, except in the US and Canada. Little did I know that asbestos is almost everywhere. It could be found in older homes, schools, office buildings, antiques, and has even been found in children’s crayons.
Heather Von St. James from Minessota, was diagnosed at the age of 36 with mesothelioma cancer and was given 15 months to live. She was unknowingly exposed to asbestos by wearing dad’s dust covered work jacket as a young girl. Heather sought treatment with Dr. David Sugarbaker and underwent a life saving surgery that involved the removal of the left lung. With the God’s grace, she will be celebrating 10 years of beating cancer in February 2016. And as a way of giving back, she is now working to spread awareness of this disease, and encourage a global ban on asbestos. She also writes at http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/survivor/#intro.
And as a part of this cancer awareness campaign, let us make this holiday TOXIN-FREE by learning what are the dangerous toxins that may be lurking in vintage holiday items or decorations that could be exposing our family and friends to health risk.