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Navigating Asbestos: What You Need to Know About The Hazards

by Marketgit Team

Lung cancer is the fastest-growing cancer in the world. In the UK, we have thousands of cases of asbestos-related illnesses that are destroying families. Not only in towns with a history of high asbestos use in the construction industry but also nationwide. In the last 15 years, mortality from asbestos cases is still more than 5000 every year.

One of the most dramatic and severe problems with asbestos-related lung cancer is it can take 15 to 20 years to develop after exposure. Asbestosis, or scarring of the lung tissue, also takes 15 to 20 years to appear. The length of time means that when asbestos starts to reveal its presence, those responsible for exposing people to asbestos may be already out of business or not even alive. 

Although governments know the dangers of asbestos, removing asbestos from older buildings is a complex, dangerous and costly process and not a job for amateurs. There is good reason for all these precautions. Removing asbestos from public or private buildings must be done by a licensed contractor registered with the HSE. 

So why do we still have buildings with asbestos?

The cost of removing or abating asbestos in public buildings is very high, and it can even run into millions of pounds depending on the amount of work needed. This makes it very difficult for companies to afford and carry out the work.

In all parts of the UK, building owners are required to perform in-depth surveys of their property and report the findings to the local authorities. If the asbestos qualifies for removal, the building owner must contact and employ an authorised asbestos removal company to take care of this dangerous mineral, including removing it, transporting it to a hazardous waste facility, and destroying it. In many cases, if buildings are going to be pulled down, they are not permitted to be demolished if any friable asbestos is present. Also, schools or educational centres must be inspected regularly and have an asbestos management plan in place, which is to be maintained and available for public inspection.

Now the interesting thing is how health experts are so keen in having different points regarding asbestos. According to American research, 2.3 of every 98,000 people living in buildings made from cement containing asbestos are liable to develop lung cancer. And it has been proved that health damage due to asbestos exposure will undoubtedly increase rapidly in the coming months and years. Healthcare workers and teachers can be unknowingly exposed to asbestos from working in old hospitals and schools. Engineers can also be exposed while working in rooms where boilers are insulated with asbestos or when repairing old piping or doing minor renovations.

Asbestos is often found in ultramafic rock, including serpentine and near fault zones. The amount of asbestos typically present in these rocks can usually be less than one percent. So, how does asbestos arrive in our lungs? Asbestos fibres can be released and become airborne when asbestos materials are destroyed. Objects with asbestos, that remain in one piece or are sealed, represent little or no risk to our health.

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