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The Many Dangers Of Asbestos

February 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 168

Asbestos is almost a silent problem although it occurs naturally and has been used for at least the last 4,500 years. It has also been known to cause health issues since at least the days of the Romans where they noticed that slaves working with asbestos often had problems with their lungs. But legislation to control the use of asbestos wasn't introduced until the late 20th century.

Asbestos is often mixed with other products.

This is probably the number one issue with asbestos. It's not always easy to recognise when it's present.

Due to its strength and resistance to fire, it has been mixed with cement to form roofing sheets, pipes and other building materials. It was also used in decorative ceiling finishes and has even been woven into rugs.

It has been found in talc (talcum powder) in trace quantities which at one stage meant that it worked its way into children's crayons.

The main culprit however is building materials which means that anyone who regularly works in or around buildings made - or altered - in the second half of the 20th century needs to be especially aware of the places where asbestos can hide and to take precautions to minimise the risks involved to themselves and others.

Asbestos has long term health side effects

The long term nature of the diseases that are caused, or heightened, by being exposed to asbestos, means that many people who have been exposed in the past will have difficulties tracing these problems back to their root cause.

Diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma take many years to develop. So it could be many years before the problem is even noticed.

Smoking heightens the effects of asbestos

Various studies have shown that smokers are at an increased risk of asbestos related health problems than non smokers.

Which means another reason to quite smoking if your work involves handling asbestos, even if you're following the latest handling procedures. After all, smoking is generally bad for your long term health and there's no point in further increasing the problems.

Asbestos dust is invisible to the naked eye

Once asbestos gets airborne, we can't see it. The fibres are just too small to be seen.

The problem here is that it's all too easy to disturb asbestos. Whilst it's no problem when it's safely contained in building materials, as soon as it becomes airborne we run the risk of inhaling it and storing up problems for our future health.

This means that if you're carrying out work at home you should be cautious if you suspect that the materials you're prodding or removing could contain asbestos fibres. These include early forms of pipe insulation and even some floor tiles.

If you're in any doubt, it's worth calling a specialist to check.

If you ever work on these kind of buildings then you need to keep your asbestos awareness training up to date and make sure that you follow the procedures that you're taught. Your health is more important than cutting any corners in this respect.

With proper asbestos safety training, you can make sure that you are not exposed to undue risk from exposure to asbestos. The training courses are based in various locations across the UK or we can arrange in house training if you prefer.

Encompassed also offer fully accredited, affordable asbestos training online.

Source: EzineArticles
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