During the Industrial Revolution, manufacturing companies believed using asbestos in their products was a great idea. Asbestos is a naturally mined mineral that was plentiful and inexpensive. Combining this mineral with other types of products made stronger and longer lasting goods.  Asbestos was used in sheet rope insulation. This rope was used to insulate boilers and pipes, because of its extreme heat resistance. It came in a multitude of shapes and sizes. Asbestos sheet rope could be found in buildings, both industrial and commercial, and on board ships.

Workers from all different trades came into contact with sheet rope during their careers. Manufacturers of the rope were of course at risk, but also anyone who installed or repaired boilers or worked with heating or cooling systems.  Pipe fitters, plumbers, electricians, and HVAC workers may all have come in contact with sheet rope.  These people were unfortunately not aware of its dangers. When sheet rope is cut or physically changed, included damage incurred through normal wear and tear, it releases hazardous particles. The poisonous fibers can be inhaled by anyone within the area.

About a hundred years ago, scientists and physicians established the fact that the inhalation of asbestos can cause serious health issues. In the 1970s, manufacturers were forced to follow the laws that limited the use of this substance. Many workers who handled sheet rope on a regular basis developed asbestos related illnesses.  Mesothelioma and asbestosis have been associated with asbestos exposure. Many employees that were continuously exposed to this toxic element have either passed on or are now dealing with the merciless symptoms of these diseases.

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