Asbestos Safety – Why Is It Dangerous?

What is asbestos?

“Asbestos is a strong fibrous rock, which can resist heat and chemicals. It was commonly used in building materials between the 1950s and 1980s.

Asbestos was often used as fireproofing but also as a general building material. Almost all buildings built or changed during this period are likely to contain asbestos somewhere.

Products containing asbestos can look the same as those that do not. Often the difference can only be found under a microscope when tested in a special laboratory.” – Hastoe

BUT Asbestos was still used in building materials up to 2000.

 

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a strong fibrous rock, which can resist heat and chemicals. It was commonly used in building materials between the 1950s and 1980s.

Asbestos was often used as fireproofing but also as a general building material. Almost all buildings built or changed during this period are likely to contain asbestos.

Products containing asbestos can look the same as those that do not. Often the difference can only be found under a microscope when tested in a special laboratory. – Hastoe

Why is asbestos so dangerous?

According to the HSE website – Asbestos kills around 5,000 people every year. Did you know this is more deaths than people killed on the road?

Around 20 tradesmen die every week due to exposure to asbestos.

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. The most common diseases associated with asbestos is asbestosis, Lung cancer and mesothelioma.

These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important to be aware of the risks of Asbestos.

Many workers with high exposures to asbestos have died from these cancers.

It must be remembered that Asbestos materials only pose a risk when they are disturbed or damaged allowing the fibres to be released into the air. This could be as simple as sanding, drilling or breaking up any material that contains asbestos.

Where can you find asbestos inside a residential or business property?

Often asbestos-containing materials do not look any different from their more modern equivalents. It is important to understand the age and make of the product to identify if there could be a risk.

The HSE website is a great source of information http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/building.htm

Here are some familiar items that once contained asbestos;


S

Outside

Asbestos cement and Asbestos Insulating board (AIB) were also used in

  • Gutters and downpipes
  • Soffits and panels
  • Roof panels and Roofing felt

Are you at risk?

The HSE website has clear information on who is most at risk to exposure to asbestos.

You need to understand if you are likely to have had repeated exposure to asbestos, which is much more likely in certain trades.

HSE reminds us that … “Asbestos can be found in any house or building built before the year 2000 as it was widely used in a variety of building materials.

If asbestos materials are in good condition, and in a place where they are unlikely to be disturbed, then they should not cause any harm.

It is only when the materials are damaged or disturbed, so that fibres are released, that asbestos can become a danger”.

Signs of Asbestos Exposure Affecting The Lungs & Other Parts Of The Body

For more information about exposure visit asbestos.com

Lungs

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry cough or wheezing
  • Crackling sound when breathing
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Respiratory complications
  • Pleural effusion (accumulation of fluid surrounding a lung)
  • Pleural plaques
  • Pleural thickening
  • Asbestosis

8 Comments

  • David Norriss Reply

    It’s scary to think that 20 tradesman die a week due to exposure to asbestos. My family and I want to move to a new house and do not want to be exposed to asbestos. I will keep your facts in mind while looking for a testing service.

    • Jamie Wilson Reply

      Hi David,

      It’s very scary to think that yes!

      The scariest thing of them all is that many people aren’t aware of exposure to asbestos as well as the number of deaths it causes.

      We wish you the best of luck finding a nice loving home 🙂 Stay safe out there!

  • Randy Chorvack Reply

    I didn’t know that it was the fibers in asbestos that made you sick. It makes sense though because I can imagine having all of that in your lungs would not be good for you. I live in an old home and I’m hoping to knock out a few walls, so I’ll make sure I exercise extreme caution when doing so.

    • Jamie Wilson Reply

      Hi Randy,

      Totally agree with you, asbestos is some real lethal stuff.

      We give you the best of luck with knocking those walls down. Stay safe!

  • Ethan Hansen Reply

    It’s scary to think that asbestos can be detrimental to your lungs. My wife and I want to keep our older lungs healthy as we move into an older home. We’ll be sure to keep your article in mind as we search for asbestos services!

    • Jamie Wilson Reply

      Hi Ethan, It’s very scary what asbestos can do to your lungs. I learnt a lot my self writing the blog post. It is some seriously deadly stuff. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. Good luck with moving into your new home. Stay safe out there and take care 🙂

  • Taylor Anderson Reply

    It’s scary that asbestos fibers can get stuck in your lungs. My home was built in the 1950s, so I’m a little worried my house has asbestos. Thanks for all the great information on asbestos. Do you know where I can learn more about asbestos removal?

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