What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibre that was mined and then used in the manufacture of over 3,500 building materials since the 1950’s. Certain types of asbestos containing materials were still being produced as recently as 1999. Asbestos was known as the “miracle mineral” due to its heat and sound insulation properties; resistance to chemical attack, versatility and it was also inexpensive.
Asbestos was often mixed with other materials in the manufacturing process of the building products and therefore it can be difficult to know if certain types of material contain asbestos.
If you work or live in a building built before the year 2000 it is likely that some parts of the building will contain asbestos, including: asbestos cement products, textured coatings, floor tiles, textiles and composites, sprayed coatings, asbestos insulating board, lagging and loose asbestos.
Asbestos is dangerous as exposure to the fibres can cause four serious diseases which are mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer & pleural thickening. 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 and proves fatal in most cases.
It's possible that you've worked with, or disturbed asbestos before, but now you're clued up on how asbestos can affect your life, make sure you avoid disturbing it, or are trained and always work with it safely.
All work with asbestos in the UK must be done by complying with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.