The word asbestos has become a byword for something suspiciously dangerous. The last five decades have featured the substance on lists of hazardous materials. But much of human history before then featured asbestos cookware, insulation or industrial materials.
Although asbestos is not commonly found in home improvement stores and construction depots anymore, it is still found in some homes and other buildings in Louisiana and other states. The material, often used in a solid form which can become airborne fibers, has been connected by medical experts to mesothelioma and other cancers.
Asbestos has almost become a catchphrase for the risks that many industrial workers and builders faced for much of the 20th century. The material has been in use since ancient history as an insulator against flame, among other advantages. Although warnings about the material's dangers existed in the 1930s, asbestos was not regulated in the United States until the 1970s.
The children's accessories makeup and accessories store Claire's has recalled various makeup sets from its shelves in recent months. Its latest voluntary recall was issued on June 9. The Claire's JoJo Siwa Makeup Set, Bath/Lot No. S180109 is thought to contain the harmful mineral asbestos, a known carcinogen.
Although asbestos is no longer in common use in the United States and other countries, abatement or removal is still continuing in many communities. Louisiana has a long history of manufacturing or assembling products with the crystaline fiber later assumed to be connected to lung cancer and other ailments of thoracic organs.
Many people across the country and here in Louisiana are under the impression that the only place you find asbestos these days is in old buildings. Unfortunately, that may not be the case.
Everyone who has been exposed to asbestos would like to think the stuff is sealed up in our past. The problematic fiber has been implicated in respiratory problems as serious as cancer in the last century, although it has been used in cookery and construction since the days of Ancient Greece.
Louisiana's environment has had a tough time in the last century. Hurricanes habitually wreck coastal communities, oil spills have laid waste to precious resources, and the chemical factories that lined the Mississippi River also filled its delta with dangerous substances.
Asbestos has probably been a serious health hazard for centuries, but scientists first drew attention to its risks in the last 100 years. The fibers of the crystalline material may cause cancer and other problems in the lungs and the lining of several major organs. Although it is no longer used in building and manufacturing, it is still discovered in older sites.
Asbestos has been part of human history for thousands of years. The crystalline fiber's natural resistance to heat led to its name, which is an ancient Greek word meaning "inextinguishable." This led some early societies to make cooking tools with solid pieces of asbestos.