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asbestos

Pronunciation: as-bes′tŏs

Definition: The commercial product, after mining and processing, obtained from a family of fibrous hydrated silicates divided mineralogically into amphiboles (amosite, anthrophyllite, and crocidolite) and serpentines (chrysotile); it is virtually insoluble and is used to provide tensile strength and moldability, thermal insulation, and resistance to fire, heat, and corrosion; inhalation of asbestos particles can cause asbestosis, pleural plaques, pleural fibrosis, pleural effusion, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.

[G. unquenchable; so-called in the erroneous belief that when heated, its warmth could not be quenched]

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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