While asbestos seems to be a product of the 20th century asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and thus has been in use since the Greeks. It has always been used due to its insulating and heat-resistant characteristics. This made it popular both for houses and for cars which is where asbestos could be found most in the 60s and 70s. The mineral was widely available and thus was put into all kinds of goods during that time like hair dryers, coffee pots, etc. It wasn’t until later in the 1970s and beyond that the EPA began to warm people of the dangers of asbestos.
Asbestos is a mineral composed of silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. It was so widely used because it was one of the only minerals that had a unique combination of properties not found in other minerals. Mainly, it was strong but flexible, it insulated effectively, and it resisted corrosion. Manufacturers and builders were unable to find a substance (at the time) that had that combination of positive properties.
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