Asbestos was popular for many years, it was a cheap option that provided copious benefits within the construction industry. However, this material has its downfalls too, this post should help you to learn a bit more about what this material is and learn about its rise and fall.
What Actually is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals made of microscopic fibres, these fibres are used to be used as insulation in buildings whether that is in the ceilings, flooring or walls. However, it was found that when these fibres were inhaled it could be extremely harmful to people’s health. So, in 1985, the use of blue and brown asbestos was banned and by 1999 it was all banned completely.
The History of Asbestos
It is thought that the first uses of asbestos were as early as 4000 BC but it was used in a very different way. At this time it may have been used in things such as candle wicks. Asbestos wasn’t really used to strengthen materials though until about 4500 years ago, where people in Finland used it to strengthen pots and cooking utensils.
Although asbestos was around for a very long time, it didn’t become popular on an industrial level until the mid-1800s. This is when asbestos mining became a common practice so it could be used in railways, ships and constriction industries. During this time nobody knew about its harmful effects, it wasn’t until the beginning of the 1990s that this was discovered. Despite their findings of the fatal effects, nothing changed, in fact, asbestos importation actually continued to rise until it reached its peak in the 1970s. The government decided at this point that it was too dangerous to be using, so by 1985 asbestos in the UK started to become prohibited to use.
Why is it Dangerous?
During the 1920s around 20,000 tonnes of asbestos was imported into the UK, at this time no one knew of its harmful effects. However, it was later found that asbestos can be extremely dangerous to people’s health.
Every year asbestos kills around 5,000 people, this number is higher than the number of people killed in road accidents. The people most at risk are those who work to remove this material from homes, although the material is no longer used, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still around. If your house was built before the year 2000, your home may contain asbestos.
Asbestos can cause many serious and fatal diseases, these could include, mesothelioma, Asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis or pleural thickening. People who work with asbestos are obviously going to be at a higher risk of developing diseases, however, they have been highly trained to handle it safely. Attempting to remove asbestos in your home by yourself can be extremely dangerous and getting a professional in is always the best idea.
If you suspect that your home or business might contain asbestos then give us a call. Our professional team is trained to carry out surveys that determine the level of asbestos in your property and help you to decide on the following steps that should be taken. Give us a call 0116 288 8256 or fill out our online contact form to arrange your survey.