Asbestos is a material that was commonly used in the building industry until 1999. It was widely available and cheap. Unfortunately, when it gets to your body, it can cause damage and develop into various diseases. Therefore, in 1999, the use of asbestos was banned.†
If you are an owner of a commercial property or looking to buy one, you are responsible for managing any asbestos on the property. This is because there are legal duties to manage asbestos if present.
The duty focuses on conducting an assessment of whether there are any materials containing asbestos in the building. Moreover, you are required to do a formal risk assessment of the health risks to employee and anyone who could be exposed to asbestos. There are many companies which offer Asbestos Removal London and surveys.
However, not many people are aware of the risks associated with asbestos and that it can be present in many buildings we use for commercial purposes.†
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring material found in rocks. When added to construction materials, it makes them resistant to fire and chemicals, flexible and strong. It was widely used in the construction industry before 1999. So, if the property was built before that, then itís possible it may have asbestos-containing materials.†
There are three types of asbestos:
- blue (crocidolite),
- brown (amosite) and
- white (chrysotile)
Is asbestos toxic?
When asbestos-containing materials inside a property are not damaged, it has very little risk. However, when itís disturbed or damaged, the asbestos particles are released into the environment, which can then be inhaled. Breathing in asbestos fibres for an extended period of time poses a serious threat. Not many people are aware that inhaling asbestos itself doesnít cause any symptoms. It takes many years, and once you start to notice something is wrong, the asbestos particles have likely already developed into a dangerous disease.
Asbestos diseases include asbestosis, pleural plaques and other conditions. These illnesses are typically caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos particles. However, even short-term exposure is unsafe. Asbestos is also responsible for cancers such as lung cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer.
There are plenty of jobs that have put employees at risk of asbestos exposure. For instance occupations such as; car mechanics who work with asbestos-containing brakes, construction and demolition, and people who work in buildings that are built with asbestos and are ageing.
The biggest problem with asbestos in a work environment is when the particles start to float. People can Inhale or ingest them by accident. Construction workers are particularly at risk because they often cut, drill and sand materials which might contain asbestos. Which can create asbestos dust. Another risk is when a building and its materials are ageing, exposing asbestos particles and releasing them into public spaces such as schools.
The problem with asbestos is that itís not visible to the human eye and doesnít have any smell. This results in many workers being unaware of being exposed to asbestos.
There is also the possibility of secondary asbestos exposure. It usually happens when a person comes in contact with someone who was exposed to it. It usually happens when someone in the family works in an environment where asbestos is present and brings the particles home. Then other members of the family can inhale it and develop dangerous diseases.
What to do with asbestos?
If you think that your property might contain materials containing asbestos, itís your responsibility to ensure that itís safely removed. However, improper disposal of those materials creates a high chance of putting people at risk of developing dangerous diseases. Thatís why the government have created strict regulations and guidelines on the management and disposal of asbestos. You might face penalties and fines if you decide to remove it by yourself instead of reaching out for professional help, so you should always hire licensed contractors who can assess the size and severity of asbestos presence. They will be able to create a tailored action plan and safely remove dangerous materials.
If you have found asbestos and are awaiting professionals, you can wipe the materials with a wet cloth. This way, the asbestos particles wonít start to float. The best practice is not to touch or move those materials, especially if they are in good condition. Otherwise, you might risk breaking them and realising asbestos into the air. However, if you decide to do it on your own, remember that asbestos-containing materials cannot be disposed into regular household waste. You should check the governmentís website for information about a place where you can bring those products to in your local area.†