What is Asbestos?

You may have heard of asbestos and understand that it poses a risk to health, but what is it, why was it used, and what should be done if it’s found during a renovation project?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was once widely used in construction. It is made of soft, flexible fibres which are resistant to heat, electricity and corrosion. But when these fibres are inhaled or ingested, they can cause damage to the lungs and their lining.

Why was asbestos used?

The nature of asbestos makes it an effective type of insulation, and this was its main use up until the late 1990s. It was also used in flooring and roofing as well as being sprayed on ceilings and walls. It was also commonly used for its fire-resistant properties.

Although asbestos is now banned in the UK, buildings constructed before 2000 may still contain asbestos, and it often isn’t discovered until refurbishment work is carried out.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

Once asbestos is disturbed or damaged – during building work, for example – its fibres are released into the air where you can unknowingly breathe them in. This can lead to a variety of asbestos-related health problems, many of which don’t cause symptoms for many years.

Over time, asbestos fibres trapped in the lungs can cause inflammation and scarring. Asbestos exposure can also cause mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer, as well as other forms of cancer and progressive lung disease.

Those who worked in the building and construction industries between the 1970s and 1990s may have been exposed to asbestos and are most at risk of developing asbestos-related health problems.

What should be done if asbestos is found?

If you suspect asbestos is present in your property or in a building you are working on, it’s important to call in the experts. Clearview Environmental specialises in carrying out asbestos surveys and the safe and effective removal of asbestos, providing a full project management service to keep you, your people and your building safe.

To find out more about the services we provide or arrange a site survey by our expert team, get in touch and we will be happy to help.