Beekeeping is a beloved hobby that has been practised for centuries. However, it can also be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. One of the lesser-known hazards of beekeeping is using bee blowers containing asbestos. If your supplier imported the equipment from China, it could contain asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. Over 3000 products can contain asbestos, mainly in construction materials, insulation, and household appliances. However, it was later discovered that asbestos fibres could cause serious health problems, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Many countries have banned using and importing asbestos but not in China. If your supplier has imported the bellows from China, there is a good chance they could contain asbestos.
There are a few main types of asbestos. White asbestos (Chrysotile), which is a lower risk than Crocidolite (Blue) and Amosite (Brown)
The woven cloth-like material used to form the bellows is the most obvious place to find asbestos.
Between the handle and the canister could have an asbestos insulation board.
Using bee blowers containing asbestos is a health hazard, and beekeepers need to be aware of the risks involved. Although the risk is low, it is still a risk.
Asbestos exposure can lead to a number of serious health problems, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Yes, If your supplier imported from China.
You can have the material tested for asbestos, but this typically costs more than buying a new one made from a non-asbestos material. If you buy a new set of blowers, you must dispose of the old ones as contaminated waste.
Asbestos waste is classified as hazardous and should be disposed of at the correct facility.
Your local council will have an asbestos waste skip where householders can take asbestos waste.
You must double-wrap the waste in heavy-duty plastic sacks. Put the bellows in the first bag and seal it with a cloth tape. Put that bag inside another bag and seal it with a cloth tape.
Beekeeping is a rewarding hobby, but you must know the potential dangers of bee blowers containing asbestos.
The amount of asbestos fibre you may have been exposed to will be very low. The chances of contracting an asbestos-related disease from such low exposure, while not impossible, are unlikely.
It is important to take the dangers of asbestos exposure seriously, even in small amounts. While the risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease from low exposure is relatively low, it is still a risk that should not be ignored. The long-term health consequences of asbestos exposure can be severe, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
If you have been using a bee blower that you suspect may contain asbestos, it is advisable to stop using it. You can have the material tested for asbestos to be sure, but in many cases, it may be more practical and safer to purchase a new bee blower made from non-asbestos materials.
When disposing of old asbestos bee blowers, it is essential to follow proper procedures to ensure the safe handling and containment of the hazardous material. Asbestos waste is classified as hazardous, and it should be taken to the correct facility for disposal.
Contact your local council to inquire about the disposal options available in your area. Typically, there will be designated asbestos waste skips where householders can safely dispose of asbestos waste.
Published May 24, 2023