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The Stone Donald Trump Is in Love With

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

This stone was banned in 63 countries due to being considered poisonous. The World Health Organization has officially declared that it is a carcinogen that may cause cancer. However, some states - Russia among them - do not agree with the commonly held opinion. One of the stone’s defenders is, surprisingly or not, the US President Donald Trump.

The name given to this mineral can be translated as ’indestructible’. Even the fire flame cannot destroy asbestos, and people were aware of its refractory characteristics already back in ancient times. In fact, they took advantage of this property and used it for entertainment purposes. In Ancient China and India, priests got dressed in clothes made of asbestos and went straight into the fire leaving it without a single burn - all in front of the audience. In the Middle Ages, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, had his own fun with asbestos. The monarch’s guests were enjoying the truly royal entertainment - once the dinner was over, the Emperor threw the asbestos tablecloth right into a burning fireplace. The food leftovers burnt away completely, but the cloth itself remained undamaged, even clean. Charles V never let anyone know what material the fabric was made of.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

The ancient Arabs thought asbestos was the wool of a mystical creature called ’salamander’. That is how the mineral got the other names, such as salamander’s hair or salamander’s wool. People believed then that a lizard-like creature with a cold body could live in the fire. In some way, it is understandable - asbestos does not look like a stone, more like intertwined wool fibres.

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Фото © asbestpromsnab.ru

The fact that the mineral is toxic has been discovered quite recently. Scientists managed to prove that asbestos fibres if inhaled can lead to severe lung disease, asbestosis. It is important to note that only some mineral varieties are harmful to human health. The harmfulness of a particular specimen depends on the shape and size of fibres of which it consists: amphibole asbestos is generally considered toxic, but, for example, chrysotile asbestos is safe to use if kept under control.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Regardless of the latter, there is still controversy whether the production of chrysotile should be allowed or not. Some 40 years ago, the American authorities made a public statement saying that extraction of asbestos on the US territory would be carried out under the state control from that moment on. Asbestos is no longer mined in America nowadays, even though it is not officially forbidden. With time, fears did not fade away, which was often of benefit to some crooked moneymakers. American home inspectors used to - and they still get to -tamper with documents on the quality of constructions works, with their aim being to destroy a certain building or settle house residents apart. According to false documentation they present, building materials nearly always contain some amount of asbestos. The US President Donald Trump nonetheless insists that asbestos could have saved human lives if it had not been neglected when designing the World Trade Center. In that case, the terrorist attack that happened on September 11, 2001, and resulted in the collapse of two towers would not be as deadly as it actually was.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей
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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Over 400 thousand people are working in the asbestos industry in Russia. As Russian scientists claim, asbestos is an exceptionally valuable mineral, using which, however, requires taking care of safety precautions. Not being able to burn in the fire is not the only mineral’s feature; its flexibility and durability are also worth noting. One kilogram of asbestos would be enough to make a fibre of tens kilometres in length. This stone fibre whose section area barely reaches one square millimetre can even withstand the half a ton load.