Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?

According to official figures, in 2019, 1,870 people were killed on the road, whereas, in comparison, there were over 5,000 asbestos-related deaths, however, the latter is spoken about much less than the former. Deaths on the road used to be a lot higher and over many years of making people aware of the dangers, this number has rapidly decreased. This can not be said about asbestos-related deaths, this is because a lot of people are not aware of the risk. This article should help you learn a bit more about this harmful group of minerals and what you should look out for.

Why Was It Used?

Asbestos has been around for millions of years but it didn’t gain popularity until the Industrial Age. This material became popular after it was found to have excellent fireproofing properties as well as being resistant to chemicals, water, heat and electricity. This material was used in everything from steam engines and automobiles to home insulation and flooring. 

In 1897 an Australian doctor was the first person to point out the negative side effects of the mineral, however, his findings didn’t change anything for nearly 100 years and it was continued to be used throughout the world. It was not until 1999 that asbestos was completely banned in the UK. This means that if your house or building was built before the year 2000, it may have been built using asbestos and you should get it checked out.

Signs of Asbestos in a Building

It is impossible to know whether a building has asbestos in it without getting it surveyed by a qualified professional. However, there are a few signs to be aware of that could indicate asbestos is present and you should get a professional to take a look.

– If your house was built before the 1980s there is a high chance that asbestos will be present. Asbestos was usually used for things such as boilers, pipes and fireplaces as well as bigger parts of the home like the ceiling, floor tiles or pipe cement. Asbestos sitting in your home won’t be harmful to your health, it is when the material containing it gets damaged or broken that it can cause health problems.

– Flooring is another thing you can look at. Vinyl floor tiles made with millboard or paper were often made from asbestos. If your flooring was installed between, 1952 and 1986, they have a higher chance of containing asbestos.

– Corrugated roofing sold between the 1920s until the 1970s, probably contained white asbestos, also known as chrysotile.

– Cement water tanks usually contain around 5-10% of asbestos. If you have a cement water tank in your home, it is worth getting it tested so you are aware. If it gets damaged you then know you need to replace it before it causes any harm.

What Illnesses Can it Cause?

When the materials that contain asbestos are damaged, fibres are released into the air, if inhaled, it can cause serious health issues, which in extreme cases, can lead to death. Symptoms of these diseases do not show up immediately and can take up to 20-30 years, by which time, it is usually too late to do anything about. This is why being aware of the dangers beforehand is so important. These are some of the diseases that are caused by asbestos, some are more serious than others:

– Mesothelioma

– Lung cancer

– Ovarian cancer

– Laryngeal cancer

– Pharyngeal cancer

– Colon cancer

– Stomach cancer

– Hyaline pleural plaques

– Asbestosis

– Pleural thickening

– Pleural effusion

– Atelectasis

– Ascites

– Pericardial effusion

What You Can Do?

The best way to prevent asbestos-related diseases is by being aware of the signs that it is present in your home or workplace. This way, you can remove it before it becomes an issue. Unfortunately, once you have the disease it is hard to diagnose since symptoms are unlikely to be present for many years. Rather than aiming to treat the problem, try to prevent it instead, this can be done through professional asbestos surveys. At Clearview, we have over 25 years of experience carrying out surveys meaning we can check your premises safely. Give us a call on 0116 288 8256 or fill out our online contact form if you suspect asbestos is present and we can come to your property and take a look.

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