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The poor man's material refers to the chrysotile which on mixing with cement forms the fire resistant mixture which is then applied to steel sheets and pipes. It is a common form of asbestos and is often linked with asbestosis which makes the lungs dysfunctional if contracted through inhaling asbestos fibers.  This is the reason that the low cost material is proving expensive in terms of health as affordability can never match the cost of contracting the lung disease.
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