What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring mineral fibres.
The unique properties of asbestos make it resistant to heat, fire, chemical and electrical damage. It is stronger than steel, an excellent sound proofing material and it was cheap. It is also the only mineral that can be woven into cloth. All of these desirable properties made asbestos a popular and widely used material in the manufacturing and construction industries.
However, it is the very strength and resilience of the asbestos fibres that make them so dangerous to humans when inhaled or swallowed. Over time asbestos fibres accumulate in the body and cause scarring and inflammation which can sadly develop into illnesses such as mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening.
Over the years as the health dangers of working with or near asbestos became known, bans were placed on importing and working with certain types of asbestos. Sadly the final ban on importing, supplying and use of all asbestos containing products was not until 1999.
It is now estimated that over 50% of the asbestos used in the construction industry throughout the twentieth century remains in place today, making asbestos a real and continued threat to modern day living.
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