Asbestos kills around 5000 workers each year, to put that into some perspective, there were 1,780 road deaths from March 2015-2016. Asbestos is extremely dangerous and as such removal should only be done by trustworthy asbestos removal team. If you're concerned about asbestos in your home or workplace, the Health and Safety Executive has an image gallery showing common places you can find asbestos. They also have a detailed FAQ to help answer any questions you might have.
Asbestos is the name given to six minerals in the serpentine and amphibole families. Whilst some are indeed more dangerous than others, it is very important to remember that all of them are dangerous and have the potential to be deadly, the types of asbestos are:
Asbestos is an extremely small fibre, smaller than a human hair. They are so small; they are not visible by the naked eye. These fibres are difficult for the body's natural defences to remove; as such they cause irritation in the lungs, which can cause cancer. Even though we have strict laws in place to protect people from asbestos exposure, the harmful material can still be found in any building that was built or refurbished before the start of the 21st century.
The most common health problems caused by asbestos are:
Perhaps one of the reasons asbestos has affected so many people was due to how useful it is. Asbestos was a highly praised material because of its powerful fire resistant properties. It was used in a wide variety of applications, ship building, in fibre cement and even as an air filter in WWII gas masks. Unfortunately with something as deadly as asbestos, thousands of people were effected before any affects could be observed. Perhaps the thing that makes asbestos so deadly is that initially people are fine and showed little to no signs of ill health. Asbestos damages lung tissue over time, this means that by the time asbestos was identified as a problem, many more people had been affected by its deadly fibres.
Asbestos is found all over the world and the extraction of asbestos dates back to Ancient Egypt. Unfortunately asbestos is still mined and used today. In a town named Асбест (Asbest) in Russia, there is a large open air asbestos mining pit. There is so much local pride for their town and their asbestos mine; there is a monument which is a sizable piece of asbestos. You can learn more about this town in a short documentary created by VICE.
Many countries still produce asbestos with Russia being by far the largest exporter who exported 618,037 metric tons in 2013 and largest importer of asbestos that year was India who imported 302,546 metric tons of the dangerous material.
More awareness and studies will be needed in order to stop the production and exportation of this incredibly dangerous material, but hopefully in the future, with enough publicity and funding, asbestos related illnesses will be a thing of the past.
Unfortunately because asbestos was so useful, many professions are at risk from asbestos exposure. Those who worked within the shipbuilding industry before the 1980s or those who served on a ship which contained asbestos are at high risk of exposure and mesothelioma. Those who work within construction are also at high risk of exposure and illness, mostly because asbestos was used for many roles in a large amount of the country's older buildings.
Some other professions that could possibly be at risk of asbestos exposure are:
As you can see, many professionals are possibly at risk of asbestos exposure. This is because any structure built or renovated before the year 2000 is likely to contain asbestos.
Fortunately many countries have banned or heavily restricted the use of asbestos and so hopefully, with greater support and awareness, the world will soon see less suffering caused by asbestos exposure.
In order to remove asbestos safely, you should always consult the advice and expertise of a professional. Asbestos removal is extremely dangerous. If agitated, the fibres can become airborne and be inhaled. What makes asbestos removal so dangerous is that you cannot see the fibres, so there is no way of knowing if you have inhaled the fibres or not. In order to protect everyone involved, steps have to be taken in order to reduce the risk of asbestos fibres becoming inhaled such as wearing masks and other forms of protective clothing.
If you find asbestos in your home or workplace, DO NOT attempt to remove it. Instead consult the advice and assistance of a professional.
If you suspect asbestos is present within your home or workplace, please contact us.
Asbestos kills thousands of people every year but hopefully in the future; less people will suffer from asbestos related illnesses.
Until then, please trust a professional to assist in the removal of any items containing asbestos. If you're interested in our asbestos removal services or would like more information, please phone 01202 870833, our lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, alternatively you could email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.