Asbestos is a naturally-occurring material in nature and fibre that is deadly. Its introduction in building materials before the 1980s has led to such illnesses as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. The material has also triggered numerous lawsuits. Who would think that this fire retardant and insulator would turn out to be such a hazardous substance? Here is a list of products which may contain asbestos.
That is why work toward abatement of the material continues even today. Many people contact an asbestos removal company when they are involved in remodelling a building. Other times, people schedule abatement when they find that a building material in their home contains the substance. Work toward removal is ongoing and will continue to be an activity of importance in the UK.
The Nature of the Substance
Indeed, asbestos removal in Milton Keynes is not something that can be bypassed, given the number of older structures throughout the UK. Technically, asbestos is a term that is generic as the material is produced from one of several mineral formations with fibres that take on various shapes. Some are considered amphiboles (needle-like and straight) while others are curved (chrysotile or serpentine asbestos). Chrysotile has been used in a large number of products.
Interestingly, asbestos was known as a miracle mineral when it was first used. That is because the material characterises properties that enabled manufacturers to create products that could dampen sound, resist the effects of fire, and stand up to abusive elements.
An Insidious and Hazardous Fibre
The one-of-a-kind shape of asbestos permitted use of the material in a large number of products. However, that shape also made the substance dangerous. If the fibres become airborne and inhaled, they automatically threaten a person’s health. The fibres can break apart to the extent that they can settle deep within the lining of the lungs.
When asbestos is lodged in the lungs, it leads to mesothelioma or lung cancer many years after its introduction. Asbestosis occurs after inhaling the substance for several years. Asbestosis makes it challenging to inhale as it forms pleural plaques in the lungs. Also, asbestos fibres that are swallowed can lead to cancers of the gastrointestinal tract or the throat.
Hard to Detect
Unfortunately, what makes the substance so insidious is the fact that it cannot be readily identified. The only way to make sure that a building has asbestos is by taking specific samples and performing analyses. You will find that the mineralogical properties of the material have led to its inclusion in insulation materials that are used for electricity or the conduction of heat. The material also has been shown to be anti-corrosive and is therefore used in materials that are frequently exposed to moisture.
Make sure that you are always in tune with the possible presence of asbestos. Check if it is present before you renovate a building. Any damages in an older building should be reported to the property owner too as these areas could contain the material. Asbestos may have once been considered a miracle mineral. However, its threat to people’s health has turned it into a genuine cause for concern.