Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos is a Killer
Asbestos is the single biggest cause of work-related deaths in the UK. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. Cheap to extract and in readily available so you can begin to see why it was used so generously. It is also a fantastic heat, sound, chemical and electrical resistor. This is why it is found almost everywhere.
When first introduced, the health hazards were not known – it takes between 15-40 years to start to see the effects of asbestos related diseases. The most common asbestos related diseases are Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and Lung Cancer.
There are 7 types of asbestos but only 3 commonly used in the UK.
Chrysotile (White Asbestos)
By far the most common type of asbestos found in the UK. Chrysotile is part of the Serpentine family meaning the fibres are small and curly, this means they are less likely to puncture the lung when inhaled. Chrysotile was used in ceiling tiles, floor tiles, cement roof sheets and walls tiles.
Amosite (Brown Asbestos)
Short needle like fibres make up amosite making it part of the Amphibole family. These fibres puncture the lungs much easier due to their shape. Amphibole types of asbestos are much more dangerous than their Serpentine relatives. Amosite was commonly used in Asbestos Insulation Boards (AIBs).
Crocidolite (Blue Asbestos)
Also part of the Amphibole family, Crocidolite fibres pierce the skin easily and are nearly impossible to breathe out once inhaled.
Banned in the UK
In 1985, Amosite and Crocidolite were banned in the UK under Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations. In 1992 Chrysotile was included in these regulations but it took until 1999 to completely ban all asbestos from being used in the UK. This means that any property built before 2000 is highly likely to contain asbestos. Many people are not able to identify it from just looking and even specialists have to send samples to approved laboratories to confirm which type of asbestos they are dealing with.
At EnviroClear we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive advise regarding asbestos. If you would like a surveyor just advise, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.