Asbestos has left a scar on society with long-lasting repercussions. There’s no question of the damage it has inflicted on tens of thousands of families in the United States. However, should we consider every aspect of asbestos bad? It’s a fireproof and heat-resistant material, but we’ve found that the tradeoff is not worth the accompanying health risks. However, a recent discovery indicates there may yet still be a use for the hazardous material. Learn how, despite the ever-present dangers, asbestos can potentially be used to fight climate change.
WPI Graduate Student Studying Asbestos’ Effect on Carbon Dioxide
A Worcester Polytechnic Institute graduate student, Caleb Woodall, and his team were performing research involving a closed asbestos mine in California to try to determine the amount of carbon dioxide the materials in the pit could absorb, according to MIT Technology Review. The crew discovered that when asbestos, especially chrysotile, collects carbon dioxide, it reacts by forming stable minerals called magnesites. This indicates that asbestos captures carbon dioxide, and the ensuing reaction forms a mineral capable of locking away greenhouse gases for thousands of years.
How Will These Asbestos Properties Effect Climate Change?
After discovering this attribute, Woodall and his team stated that they hope to offset the abundant carbon emissions that occur from mining by using these minerals that are drawn out during the process. They also have an ambitious goal of figuring out how to safely mine asbestos and other carbon-capturing materials for the purpose of absorbing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere – though this may prove difficult given the current battle of banning asbestos in the US.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Asbestos?
While a promising discovery, we should be wary of the effects of mining asbestos on the environment and surrounding communities. Remember, society once referred to this mineral as the “miracle material” before realizing its dangers. That said, this discovery is further proof that we are not entirely through with asbestos in the US. Despite discovering a favorable attribute, it’s important not to forget about the health risks associated with asbestos and to always leave the handling of asbestos up to a professional.
The research going into seeing whether asbestos can potentially be used to fight climate change is a noble effort. But, as a company with expertise handling asbestos and other hazardous substances, we’ll always be wary of its harmful effects. Most importantly, you should always be vigilant should you suspect asbestos is present in your home, work, or other areas of your life. If you’re looking for a company to safely perform remediation or removal of asbestos, contact us today.