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Asbestos And The Dangers Associated With It

On 6th April 2023 a campaign was released toward tradespeople across Great Britain – they were being warned about the real dangers associated with asbestos.

The warning is part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ‘Asbestos and You’ campaign for tradespeople, emphasizing the continued risks of asbestos in properties throughout the country.

The Health and Safety Executive have estimated that currently in the UK, about 5,000 people pass away each year due to illnesses caused by asbestos which can still be present in buildings built or renovated before 2000.

Even though the use of asbestos is banned the HSE warns that many buildings still contain the substance, posing a serious risk to anyone exposed, regardless of their age.

 

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a set of natural fibrous minerals valued for their strong and heat-resistant properties, historically used in commercial applications.

An image of Asbestos and what it looks like

 

That’s why asbestos is used for insulation in buildings and in various products like roofing shingles, wa

ter pipes, and fire blankets. It’s also found in car parts like clutches, brake linings, gaskets, and pads.

Chrysotile, recognized as white asbestos, and crocidolite, known as blue asbestos, are the main types of asbestos. Other varieties comprise amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite.

 

Why is asbestos a problem?

Contact with any form of asbestos can lead to cancers in the lungs, larynx and ovaries, as well as mesothelioma – a cancer affecting the linings of the chest and abdomen. Asbestos exposure can also result in other illnesses like lung fibrosis (asbestosis) and thickening of the lung’s lining.

Presently, around 125 million people globally are exposed to asbestos while working. About half of work-related cancer deaths are believed to be due to asbestos. Additionally, several thousand deaths each year are thought to be linked to asbestos exposure at home.

It has also been shown that co-exposure to tobacco smoke and asbestos fibres substantially increases the risk for lung cancer – and the heavier the smoking, the greater the risk.

 

Will you get sick right away? 

These diseases don’t show up right away as they usually take a long time to develop. By the time they are diagnosed, it’s often too late to take action.

It might take 20 to 30 years before any symptoms show up. These symptoms can involve shortness of breath, a constant cough, wheezing, extreme fatigue, chest, or shoulder pain, and in severe cases, swollen fingertips. 

 

Key facts to think about: 

  • About 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace.
  • All forms of asbestos, including chrysotile, are carcinogenic to humans.
  • Asbestos can cause serious diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestos related lung cancer, asbestosis, and pleural thickening. 
  • These diseases will not affect you immediately as they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything.

Find out more about the Asbestos and You campaign.

Alternatively, if you realise you could be at risk for high exposure to Asbestos, contact us to get a risk assessment. We’ll be there to assist you as soon as possible.

 

References: 

 

 

https://workright.campaign.gov.uk/campaigns/asbestos/?utm_source=press.hse.gov.uk&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=asbestos-trades-23&utm_content=homepage

https://press.hse.gov.uk/2023/04/06/asbestos-and-you/

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asbestos-elimination-of-asbestos-related-diseases 

 

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