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The Asbestos Debate

By Jeff Lakie

Asbestos. Most often asbestos is equated or associated with dire images. As a society there seems to be an overall distaste for any regard where asbestos is concerned. If you or a loved one has suffered from the cancerous side effects of asbestos and asbestos related materials you know that it is indeed a very horrible experience.

As with anything there are two sides to the total story. If you go back far enough to the time when this unique material first surfaced you would realize the tremendous benefits it offered. These benefits were far reaching. And in this other-sided-view of asbestos perhaps you would have a better appreciation for the sacrifices made and challenges met where asbestos was concerned.

Obviously if you have known an individual stricken with mesothelioma you understand the sacrifices individuals made in the workplace. Inadequate ventilation and mishandling of asbestos is the number one reason lung disease attributed to asbestos is so prominent. Indeed it is the workplace that is as much to blame than the asbestos itself. Stricter codes and safety regulations would have prevented many unnecessary deaths and illness over the course of years.

Assuming responsible interaction with any material used for such purposes as asbestos is used would be a reasonable focal point for manufacturers to begin manufacturing. Education and awareness as well as understanding the use of materials that have a potential public danger should always be priority. Banning such materials in the long run resolves nothing.

Asbestos and similar materials have so many varied and important uses. No one can argue that fireproofing, electrical insulation and brake linings are things we as a society need. Some will argue there are other methods to achieve these amenities.

There will always be an argument for either side of asbestos. Those who know the damage it can cause will argue that the benefits aren't worth the risks. Others will argue that the legacy of fear was based on ignorance. And still yet there are some who believe that the current fears and hatred toward asbestos is fueled by marketing opportunities and political issues.

Researching every angle of the asbestos debate will produce questions. Fortunately answers will slowly appear also. Often unanimous negative feelings toward something can be attributed to a "propaganda-type approach to advertising and media. Understandably establishing an opinion can be difficult in this type of situation, but not entirely impossible.

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