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QUICK FACT

Some scholars claim the word asbestos comes from the Ancient Greek term, asbestos, meaning inextinguishable or unquenchable, a characterization of the material's invincibility from the intense heat of the fire pits used by the Greeks for cooking and warmth.

The fireproofing properties of asbestos made it essential to many industries such as the automobile, construction, manufacturing, power and chemical industries. The U.S. armed forces also used asbestos to prevent fires in every branch of the military. The primary intention of using asbestos was to protect workers, but many asbestos product manufacturers knew early on that working with the mineral caused harmful health effects.

Despite all the efforts to use asbestos safely, it remains a danger to human health, causing crippling diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

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