A lot of people are actually surprised to learn that asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined from the earth. After it’s dug out of the ground, it is pulled into fine fibers that are impervious to fire, heat, electrical currents and chemicals, plus excellent insulators against heat and cold. In many ways it is a wonder material that can be mixed into plastics, cement compounds, clothing materials, papers, and dozens of other materials to alter their characteristics. It was cheap to mine and process, and incredibly beneficial to many products, except it turned out to be deadly and toxic to humans.
Asbestos Is A Group Of Silicone Based Fibres
The term asbestos actually refers to a group of fibres that all have silicate as their base ingredient. Most people recognize the white asbestos they’ve seen in their homes or on TV, but it also came in blue and brown colours as well. Altogether, there are about six different types of the material that are recognized as dangerous, however, most of the remaining types are just as lethal but caught up in litigation that keeps them off the list.
The problem with this group of minerals and the products made from them are that they release tiny fibres, mostly invisible, tasteless, and odourless, that penetrate our bodies and cause cancer. These particles can enter through the lungs, but due to their sharp points have been known to migrate slowly over time to other points as well.
The human body reacts to asbestos by becoming inflamed and building scar tissue around it that can eventually turns cancerous. The most difficult part about the cancer is that it can take up to 30-50 years to develop and then it’s very difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the exposure. Some people, over their long careers, have been exposed to asbestos in several industries at various levels. The most serious cases of exposure tend to be people in construction or other jobs and had daily doses of the fibres over long periods of time – this is why asbestos surveys are so important.
How To Limit Your Family’s Exposure To Asbestos
For the most part, factories, manufacturers, and construction companies are forbidden to use asbestos in any products. In addition to that, most have been required to remove any asbestos over the years and have done so. At this point in time the highest risk for most people is in their own homes. It’s important to remember that, all by itself, a piece of asbestos isn’t going to cause cancer.
The problem arises when an older home is remodelled and the workers uncover old flooring, old ceiling tiles, roofing, sprayed on ceiling coatings, insulation, and other materials that were installed prior to the ban in the year 2000, in the UK. For that reason, it’s very important that, before you start working, you have an asbestos survey of your home to identify and remove all forms of asbestos safely.
The last thing that you would ever want to do is get a giant floor sander and grind down an asbestos impregnated tile floor. This would send millions of asbestos particles floating through the air and contaminate an entire home. By getting the asbestos survey you can eliminate the worry and danger, call in professionals to clean up the hazardous materials, and reduce the risk to your family.
If you’re about to embark on a remodelling project, especially of an older home, it’s a good idea to have it inspected. It also is a wise move to make sure you get an asbestos survey before you buy any older home so that you can make sure it’s taken care of before you purchase and move in.