Diary 274: Deadly asbestos
Asbestos was once heralded as the greatest building materials.
Why is asbestos so deadly?
There is increasing concern over asbesto poisoning in the western developed world.
It is a naturally occuring fibrous mineral, with fire- and heat-resistant properties.
Asbestos becomes a danger when it is disturbed, causing the fibres to become airborne, commonly refered to as friable abestos.
Airborne friable asbestos us sucked into the lungs of peoples exposed to it.
Long term exposure may lead to asbestos-related diseases, such as lung cancer and asbestosis.
In Malaysia, to date, only crocidolite (bles asbestos) has been prohibited, but the use of chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos), tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite are allowed (Utusan Konsumer Nov-Dec 2010, page 15).
What is of great concern to consumers is the supply of water through asbestos cement pipes. Malaysia does not have any program to specifically replace asbestos cement pipes.