Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral material that is composed of six thin microscopic needle-like fibres. This material has been used since the nineteenth century as it is a natural insulator. It strengthens materials, is resistant to heat, resistant to corrosion and even electricity.
These useful qualities make it a common choice of material for many practical uses, including:
- Concrete bricks
- Pipe insulation
Asbestos is added to these products to make them stronger, but is it safe?
Protect Yourself from Asbestos – Test Your building
Before taking on a construction project on an old building, it is essential to get asbestos testing by a reputable company to check if the material is present in the building. When asbestos bricks are broken, they release dust which is very harmful when inhaled.
The fibres are impossible to remove and can irritate the lungs–causing inflammation, tissue scarring, and eventually, genetic damage.
Breathing asbestos can cause several severe lung conditions, and a rare and aggressive form of cancer called mesothelioma, which is predominantly caused by breathing in asbestos dust.
Asbestos – A Silent Killer in your Home
Asbestos has been known for years to cause some severe health defects through breathing in the broken fibres. The tiny fibres enter the lungs through the windpipe and get lodged deep inside the lungs, becoming trapped.
Many problems occur when workers aren’t aware they are working in conditions where asbestos is present, so they are breathing normally.
Be very careful if you suspect you may be exposed to asbestos. No amount of exposure is safe. Always insist on being fitted with asbestos-proof breathing apparatus if you know you are working around it.
Test, test test
Getting your property tested for asbestos can dramatically increase the sale value of your house if you can prove your property is asbestos-free. Even if you do have asbestos in your home, getting the property tested allows you to employ the services of professional asbestos removal specialists who can make your home safe for you and your loved ones.
Some countries allow you to remove asbestos materials on your own – This is inadvisable, but if you are going to remove it yourself, follow these safety guidelines:
- Wear a respirator with a high-quality HEPA filter.
- Seal off the entire work area and ensure the air conditioning is switched off.
- Wear disposable overalls and gloves during the removal process.
- Spray water in the air to keep the material wet and help dust to settle.
- Clean the work area with wet-wipes or a damp cloth.