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Image of Asbestos Stones - Asbestos the 'Hidden' Killer

Typical Asbestos Containing Building Materials

The Hidden Killer

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which was extensively mined in Australia, Canada and South Africa during the 20th century. Asbestos was used extensively in the building industry for over one hundred years and was proven to be an excellent product for a variety of uses. Its insulation, fire and chemical resistance made it ideal for use in the manufacture of a wide range of products from pipe insulation, flooring materials, cement roofing and insulatory coatings to toilet cisterns and artex wall coatings.

It was during the post war period of the 1950s to the 1970s when asbestos use was the most prevalent: it provided a very economic, easy to use material that was welcome to the construction industry at that time. Asbestos' suitability for many uses and relatively cheap cost made it very popular, with millions of tons being used in countless forms. It is usually present in all but the newest of premises. Its use was only completely prohibited in 1999.

Despite its ban, millions of tons of it are still present in properties all over the country, in many different shapes and forms.

Asbestos is a Class One Carcinogen. Its constitution and make up with other materials mean it's easily damaged. When damaged, deadly microscopic airborne fibres are released into the air and can be breathed in. These fibres can get lodged in the lungs leading to numerous diseases and death. There is usually a long delay between the first exposure to asbestos dust and the onset of disease - typically 15 to 60 years. Today, the majority of people dying from asbestos related diseases were exposed to it during the 1950s and 1960s.

Asbestos-related diseases, such as Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and Lung Cancer, currently kill over 3,500 people each year in the UK. This figure is expected to rise to in excess of 10,000 per annum over the next ten years.

New regulations have been issued making it a legal requirement to manage all asbestos containing materials in commercial premises to protect those that work or visit there, as it only takes one fibre to kill.

It is therefore vitally important to be aware of the location of asbestos containing materials within the workplace so that the potential of disturbance and fibre release can be prevented.

Safeguard Asbestos Services Ltd can identify areas of risk and offer solutions. Call us on 0845 467 3477

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