Due to its versatility, strength and fire resistant properties, asbestos mineral became a staple of many products today including plastic products. When mixed with asbestos, plastic products are reinforced and withstand excessive heat. However, the mineral is highly linked to mesothelioma, a cancer that affects some of the linings in the body cavity.

Asbestos was first used in synthetic polymer-based plastics in early 1900s when Leo Hendrik Baekeland was looking for a way to insulate electrical wirings used in motors and generators. Plastic material is widely used in many products mainly because it is light, versatile, durable, and it may come in many colors. Electrical products like wires, electrical switches, casings, and terminal boards contain asbestos. In the automobile industry, plastic vehicle parts like steering wheel and buttons contain asbestos. Some plastic components of telephones are also believed to contain asbestos.

Studies later revealed that products containing asbestos are toxic and can cause respiratory illnesses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1980s, restricted the use of asbestos in plastic products. People are at risk of mesothelioma cancer when they accidentally inhale or ingest tiny dust of asbestos. The asbestos mixed in plastic products may get into the air due to wear and tear in everyday use. Asbestos particles may become airborne if plastic products breaks. Though other companies refrained from using asbestos in their products, many plastic products containing asbestos are still manufactured today. Workers who used to work in plastic manufacturing facilities are at risk of asbestos exposure, according to the Williams Kherkher webpage. Asbestos may easily contaminate the air inside factories during drilling or grinding operations.

Factory workers may no longer continue their job if they developed mesothelioma. While experts are still studying how to cure mesothelioma cancer, patients who have this condition may undergo surgeries and therapies similar to cancer patients. The aim of the treatments that are often expensive is to prevent the disease from spreading and to improve the patient’s condition.

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