1. Asbestos is actually a group of six different minerals that are found in the earth. They have been widely used in the construction industry over many years because they are excellent at retaining heat (insulation) and are very strong in composition. Asbestos has been used to make a variety of materials including slabs, insulation of pipes and cables, coatings for steel structures and more.
2. It has been proved by extensive medical research over the years that asbestos minerals are very damaging to health.
3. Asbestos causes cancers like mesothelioma, which is a result of inhaling the asbestos fibers, ingesting or being exposure to fibers over a period of time. Cancers caused by inhaling asbestos are known to directly affect the membrane that lines the lungs, heart, abdomen, and reproductive organs.
4. Every one of us has been exposed to asbestos at some time in our life. Asbestos minerals are present in very small quantities in the atmosphere all around us, including water. But those at risk of developing cancer are the people who have been exposed to large quantities of asbestos in their line of work. Or those people who have come into direct contact with the material.
5. There is a long incubation period following sustained exposure to asbestos fibers. So It can take anything from 10 to 40 years for any symptoms of illness to develop.
6. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they accumulate in the lungs which results in respiratory diseases, and then subsequently lead to a variety of cancers.
7. It is believed that inhaling asbestos fibers causes lung cancer and contributes to thickening of the pleura.
8. Smokers who have previously also been exposed to asbestos are more at risk of developing lung cancer.
9. People who are exposed to asbestos as children are the most at risk of developing cancer, as opposed to people who are exposed in adulthood.
10. At present, there is no known cure for mesothelioma cancer. However, researchers are conducting medical trials on mesothelioma patients to try and find a cure, and have made some significant progress into treating symptoms of the illness.
Duty holders and employers have a legal responsibility to manage asbestos in their building so as not to put employees at risk. Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting http://www.armco.org.uk/