A So-Called Miracle Mineral with a Malevolent Secret

More than 150 years ago, a miraculous material was discovered deep within the Earth’s crust. Though it didn’t look much different from other raw minerals at first glance, deeper digging uncovered some interesting details. For one, this material was actually made up of thousands of tiny fibers rather than granules or other components. Further studies ensued, and the supposed full magnitude of this substance’s powers came forth.

Multiple Attributes in a Minimalistic Package

Upon further examination, scientists learned this element could hold in heat or cold while blocking the other. It also held the ability to repel flames, giving it a great deal of potential in entirely new fields. Aside from that, the recently discovered mineral was capable of withstanding exposure to a wide range of chemicals. Even more possibilities came to light.

What Happened Next?

With so much potential pent up in this mineral, it was bound for fame; of course, being an inexpensive alternative to some of the other options on the market didn’t hurt matters. Having been named Asbestos, it soon made its way into ships, vehicle parts, construction materials, fire retardant clothing and numerous other fields.

Problems Arose

On a seemingly unrelated note, the medical world saw a strange new development. Cases of health issues like difficulty breathing and chest pains took an upturn. Tests showed unusual growths in these patients’ lungs and, in some cases, other organs.

For the most part, those suffering from this condition worked in construction, shipyards and the automotive industry though this wasn’t true of every patient to exhibit its warning signs. What was the connection? It’s obvious now, but in those early days, the solution wasn’t so clear.

It All Comes to Light

By now, you’ve probably realized the ultimate conclusion. The mysterious illness was deemed mesothelioma, and the single factor connecting its sufferers turned out to be asbestos. Those tiny fibers with such capacity for greatness had a way of drifting from their intended purposes. Once free, they made their way into the human body where they lingered. Scar tissue built up around them, eventually causing serious illness and death.

Asbestos has been largely outlawed today, but it still lurks in some buildings and industries. When found, strict regulations apply to just how such a situation is to be handled. For all those exposed before further research took place, though, the mineral once considered a miracle continues to wreak havoc.