Asbestos is an unseen killer, that’s why if you said that 70, 50 or maybe 30 years ago, people would label you as a liar. But unfortunately that is the fact. Recently, the hazards of asbestos mineral have been apparent. It is the main component for making various products prior to 1999. But why? Where is the danger of it and how can we keep ourselves from it?
We need to understand a lot about asbestos to answer those questions. Asbestos is a merged of six silicate minerals found in the nature. People mine them for commercial purposes due to their properties which are amazing tensile strength, sound absorption, and also excellent resilience to heat, electrical and chemical damage. Thus asbestos was used in many building materials in the late 19th century.
So where is the danger?
These minerals are formed from long and thin fibrous crystals which can be inhaled into the lungs and cause serious illness such as malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. That’s the reason why it is better for human to stay away from asbestos.
If asbestos is moved or damaged, it will gain the danger because the dust and fibres can be released into the air and it will be the reason of some health risks of people around. The victims of asbestos related illness need a long period of time to realize the diseases, thus by the time they know it, their condition may be so much worse than before. There is no immediate medication for these diseases. The length of period can be around 15 until 60 years while the diseases can take a hold. For instance, in the lungs, asbestos can make a scar like tissue which may result the function of the lungs become limited or even totally gone. Nowadays, asbestos is a common reason of deaths for people who have been exposed since 50s and 60s. Most of them have slow and painful death realted to the lung and breath problems.
There are over 3,500 deaths every year which are related to asbestos which is predicted increasing rapidly until 10,000 over the next decade.
Asbestos can be harmless if it is left untouched, unmoved and un-messed. Unfortunately many people who work in asbestos industry don’t know about its hazard. Asbestos exposure will happen if the asbestos containing materials (ACMs) are disturbed during maintenance, demolition or refurbishment of the buildings. The fibres which are released into the air can be inhaled by the people around like removing/replacing ceiling tiles that commonly happened.
How can this be prevented?
Because of its danger, measures is used to reduce the chance and risks of people who work in asbestos industry from being exposed of asbestos. Regulation 4 in 2004 about the Control of Asbestos at work Regulations act lead a legal obligation for non-domestic building owners observe the presence of asbestos. If asbestos presents there, some steps are needed to do like condition monitoring, having a form of control set up and inform anyone who could may get exposed too. The “Duty Holder” of this case can be the owner of the building, tenan or even the housing landlord if it is run for commercial reasons.
There are around 50% of the properties which still need to complete their own asbestos assessment, regardless the regulations which have been applied for around 12 months. If the legislation confirmation is failed, they must be ready for the inspections from HSE inspectors as a probable criminal. It is very important to make sure that you and people around you are not in the danger of asbestos.
You can take asbestos survey to make sure that the building is not in risk of asbestos and even where ACMs are placed. A risk assessment will be given too to find out if there are asbestos fibres released. There are 3 types of the survey:
- Type 1
- Type 2
- Type 3
Those types of survey have their own different features, so you need to know first which report that you need.