Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that once was lauded for its versatility, recognized for its heat resistance, tensile strength and insulating properties, and used for everything from fire-proof vests to home and commercial construction.
Asbestos has been used in many industries especially in the building and construction industries where it was used for strengthening cement and plastics as well as for insulation, roofing, fireproofing, and sound absorption. The shipbuilding industry has used asbestos to insulate boilers, steam pipes, and hot water pipes. The automotive industry uses asbestos in vehicle brake shoes and clutch pads. Asbestos has also been used in ceiling and floor tiles; paints, coatings, and adhesives; and plastics.
Asbestos was a perfect blend to make things better – except it was highly toxic, too. Today asbestos is a known cause of mesothelioma cancer, is banned in more than 60 countries and its use has been dramatically restricted in others. Since 1990, in Europe were implemented regulations restricting the use of asbestos, and from 1 January 2005, following a directive of the European Commission, the use and sale of products containing asbestos was totally banned.
In Romania, the Government Decision no. 124/2003 on the prevention, reduction and control of environmental pollution by asbestos together with Government Decision 734/2006 have been imposing restrictions on the marketing and use of asbestos and products containing asbestos.