Asbestos is a material that was banned in the UK back in 1999. Before that date it has been widely used within construction, engineering, shipbuilding, and many other heavy industries. Due to this, the substance can still be found in many different buildings and materials throughout the country, and there is a necessity for accurate asbestos testing and licensed asbestos removal services when asbestos is found in buildings as a matter of routine or during renovation, refurbishment, or demolition projects on buildings that were constructed prior to the ban at the end of the last century.
Because we know this about asbestos, it is easy to be scared about all asbestos, but is this an accurate way to feel?
On the face of it, asbestos is 100% natural. It is found in rocks, in iron ore, and is a material that has been mined for the past few hundred years. Asbestos has been favoured so much because it has some interesting properties of both strength and insulation, which have been the perfect accompaniment to those in the construction trade. It was cheap to mind, and naturally occurring, which led to the boom in its use for much of the first half of the 20th century in particular. As soon as the dangers of certain types of asbestos was discovered and understood better in the 1980s, its use slowed down dramatically, until it was banned completely in 1999.
The problem with asbestos is that it is made of millions of microscopic fibres that can be easily breathed in if they are disturbed and become airborne. They are sharp in texture and can easily become lodged in lungs and airways. Although asbestos fibres are not known to cause problematic symptoms in the short-term, they can cause long-term health problems.
There are several types of asbestos-related illnesses that take many decades to appear in most cases, by which time it is often too late to do anything. These include mesothelioma, asbestosis, asbestos-related lung cancer, and pleural thickening. One of the other problems with understanding asbestos and its dangers is that there are a few different types of asbestos.
So, what are the different types of asbestos to be aware of?
White Asbestos (Chrysotile Asbestos) – This asbestos is made up of long fibres that are naturally curly. They were the ideal choice of asbestos for those weaving fire blankets and were also used extensively within the production of plaster, vinyl floor tiles, pipe insulation, and roof insulation.
Brown Asbestos (Amosite) – This form of asbestos is incredibly dangerous due to being made of sharp, jagged fibres. It was used commonly within acoustic insulation, structural steel, insulation boards within construction, and for ceiling tiles.
Blue Asbestos (Crocidolite Asbestos) – This is the most dangerous of all asbestos and was used within the construction of insulation, tiles, and cement. The fibres are fine and sharp, causing plenty of damage if inhaled.
If you are worried about asbestos in a building that you live or work in, or one in which you are responsible for the refurbishment project being undertaken, it is vital that you get in touch with a licensed asbestos management company. This will ensure that any asbestos-containing materials that are present on site are thoroughly tested and removed if necessary. Online licensed professionals can legally remove asbestos, as it is dangerous to be in contact with asbestos fibres that could potentially cause long-term health problems such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.