It may not be the most compelling topic but asbestos can have huge repercussions on your health, so it’s essential that anyone renovating their home knows what to look out for. So read on as this article give you a deep insight into what actually asbestosis and why it must be a matter of concern for you.
What Is Asbestos & Why Should You Be Concerned?
Note: If you’re not qualified for the removal of asbestos, or you’re unsure whether you’ve found it or not it is recommended that you always seek expert help!
What Is It?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous substance. It becomes a risk to you and your health when the fibres are released into the air and inhaled. If you breathe in large levels of these dangerous fibres, you’re at risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease, such as lung cancer or Mesothelioma.
These diseases won’t affect you instantly but later will pound on later in life. Anyone who uses premises that are infected by asbestos can be at risk. This usually occurs through drilling, sawing or cutting into the fabric where asbestos might be.
The Diseases & Risks
Mesothelioma is caused directly by the exposure to asbestos. Although banned in the UK, asbestos is still present in about 50% of residential properties and populates many commercial features as well. When installed correctly, asbestos is safe.
However, homes and buildings wear down over time, and asbestos eventually becomes exposed. This allows the fibres of asbestos to become airborne and inhaled. Being exposed to asbestos as few as one time could cause problems such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer in the long run.
Because of these health hazards, asbestos has been outlawed in new building projects in the European Union. However, before the initial 1990s asbestos was extensively used in thousands of distinct materials, so it’s still essential that you should keep yourselves aware of the risks.
If you own, occupy or have responsibilities for non-domestic premises which may contain asbestos it becomes even more critical for you to proceed with great precaution. You also have a legal duty to manage the contingencies and risks from this material.
Various Types of Asbestos to Look Out for
The three main varieties of asbestos are still commonly found throughout are crocidolite “blue asbestos,” chrysotile “white asbestos,” and amosite “brown asbestos.” They are all carcinogens, but the brown and blue asbestos are the most hazardous. Beware though, as you cannot accurately identify asbestos just by its appearance and colour.
Asbestos is found in a number of products, including; Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB), pipe insulation, sprayed coatings, vinyl floor tiles, cement roof sheeting, window putty, drywall joint filler compounds and coating like Artex.
Chrysotile – White Asbestos
Chrysotile is more resilient than other types of asbestos and was used a lot more as compared to blue and brown asbestos. It can be woven and spun into pieces of fabric, but it is more commonly used in wrinkled asbestos cement roof sheets, used for garages, warehouses and outbuildings.
Crocidolite – Blue Asbestos
Crocidolite is generally found in soft, crumbly fibres, meaning that when it becomes uprooted it quickly breaks apart and is easy to inhale. Crocidolite was mostly used in cigar filters.
Amosite – Brown Asbestos
Amosite is often found acting as a fire retardant in thermal insulation commodities, such as ceiling tiles. These boards were commonly used because of their excellent heat insulation characteristics and fire resistance properties.
What Should You Do if You Find Asbestos?
If you suspect asbestos to be present in your home, it is essential that you follow the correct route to ensure you or anyone in the surrounding area is not exposed to asbestos fibres. It’s nearly always mixed with another material so can be quite hard to identify. If you’re working on a building built before the year 2000, you should be extra careful as it’s likely that some parts of the building will contain asbestos.
Asbestos waste should always be transported in labelled, double-bagged polythene bags and sent to licensed disposal sites. Contact a professional asbestos removal company to assure the safe removal of the asbestos. They might take a test of the material to confirm it contains asbestos, and from there, the team will carefully remove the substance in the safest way.