Alternative fibers

Asbestos is a unique mineral relating to its set of properties. To substitute asbestos it is necessary to combine many other substances, which benefits cannot always compare to the ones of asbestos.

Cost: Some of the alternative products have very high costs and demand great investment in equipment and technology.

Efficiency: There is also the technical difficulty of the substitute performance, especially in applications such as heavy vehicles brakes (trucks and trains), asbestos – cement roofing and gaskets and insulating systems in the aerospace industry. Until today, in such uses, no other product offered the efficiency and the safety of chrysotile.

Health Risk: Medical researches indicated that the possible risks of asbestos for the health are common to the majority of the other fibers. So, in high doses, the alternative fibers can have similar malign effects in the lung tissue. Although, while asbestos has been exhaustively studied for more than a 100 years, and knowing well its effects over the workers health, the other fibers have been used more recently (last 10 – 20 years). That’s why it will be necessary a longer period to get to know its action (30 – 50 years)

Considering these aspects, the World Health Organization published, along with ILO – International Labor Organization and UN – United Nations, the Environmental health Criteria 151, in which it recommends: All the biopersistent airborne fibers must be tested for toxicity and carcinogenesis. Exposure to these fibers must be controlled the same way asbestos is”

Source: CNTA – Nation Committee of Asbestos Workers