Facts and figures about the dangers of asbestos
Despite the fact that asbestos has been identified as a dangerous and harmful material for quite some time now, it still presents several dangers. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) has some quite shocking facts about how hazardous exposure to asbestos can be:
- Asbestos still kills around 5000 workers each year. Somewhat remarkably, this is more than the number of people killed on the road.
- Around 20 tradesmen die each week as a result of past exposure.
- It can take anywhere between 15-60 years for symptoms to develop after exposure, so illness or disease will not affect you immediately, but may do in later life.
Even though asbestos was banned in 1999, when it was a widely used material for commercial buildings, homes and machinery, a significant risk still remains.
Why is it dangerous?
Its dangerous because when materials containing asbestos are moved, modified, disturbed or damaged, deadly fibres are released into the air. When inhaled or ingested, these fibres become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, where they can sometimes be removed. However, if they pass deep into the lungs or are swallowed into the digestive tract, they become trapped in the body and can cause serious health problems. Asbestos-containing material isn’t considered to be harmful, but rather the dust and fibres that are released when disturbed. Therefore, it becomes an ever-present problem for tradesmen, labourers and the construction industry. If you’re worried that your home or place of work contains harmful materials, Sperion can conduct asbestos surveys to locate any problems. But remember, things like ceiling and floor tiles, shingles, fire doors and cabinet tops will not release dangerous asbestos fibres unless they are damaged in some way. Deterioration from continual vibration, aging, water and physical impact from drilling and grinding can break down materials though.
The three biggest diseases associated with asbestos exposure include:
Symptoms of this non-cancerous respiratory disease include shortness of breath and a cracking sound in the lungs while inhaling. Asbestos fibres aggravate tissue in the lungs and cause them to scar. There is no effective treatment for asbestosis, which means it is usually disabling or fatal.
This causes the largest number of deaths among people exposed to asbestos exposure. However, the incidence of lung cancer in people working closely with asbestos is higher than the general population. A lot of the time, victims will be exposed to some other sort of carcinogen, such as cigarette smoke. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains, hoarseness and anaemia.
Nearly all cases of mesothelioma are linked to asbestos exposure, however it is still quite a rare form of cancer. Mesothelioma occurs in the thin membrane lining the lungs, chest and abdomen. It is almost always fatal. For more information or guidance about asbestos, be sure to contact Sperion today. We can conduct asbestos surveys in your home or place of work and remove harmful materials to keep occupants and workers free from danger. Don’t risk anyone’s health, the solution is simple for all to see, call in the experts to get your survey performed prior to deciding what the best course of action to take is. In order to deal with any problem with such materials that are identified during a survey you need to be fully informed of all of the pertinent facts first!