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Recently, the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a comprehensive ban on all forms of the deadly carcinogen asbestos.

About Asbestos

  • Asbestos is a generic term for a group of six silicate minerals with similar but distinct properties.
  • These are generally divided into two sub-groups; serpentine and amphiboles. Serpentine asbestos (chrysotile or white asbestos) was the most commonly used type of asbestos.
  • Properties:
    • These are resistant to heat and corrosion.
    • It is non-flammable even at very high temperatures and is extremely flexible and durable.
    • It has good tensile strength.
    • It has low heat conductivity and high resistance to electricity.
  • It was once widely used in construction materials, insulation and consumer goods.
  • India's asbestos requirement is met through imports from Russia, Kazakhstan, Brazil and China.
  • The newly banned chrysotile asbestos in the USA was primarily used by the chlor-alkali industry, which produces chlorine bleach, caustic soda and other chemicals used in water treatment.
  • Health impacts:
    • According to the World Health Organization, all varieties of asbestos are associated with conditions such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, laryngeal cancer, ovarian cancer and asbestosis, a lung fibrosis.
    • If products containing asbestos are disturbed, tiny asbestos fibers are released into the air.
    • When asbestos fibers are breathed in, they may get trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time.

Q1) What is Corrosion?

It is wearing away due to chemical reactions, mainly oxidation.It occurs whenever a gas or liquid chemically attacks an exposed surface, often a metal, and is accelerated by warm temperatures and by acids and salts.

Source: United States bans white asbestos, last of its kind still in use