WHAT IS ASBESTOS?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined in many places in the world. The material got its name from ‘asbestiform’ that describes the fibrous structure that gives it flexibility and strength. It was used extensively in the past in building materials before its UK ban in 1999. Prior to this, asbestos was primarily used for insulation, flooring and roofing. It became clear that asbestos can cause serious damage to the lungs, causing diseases such as lung cancer and Mesothelioma. This is the reason for the UK wide ban in 1999, however, buildings constructed or refurbed before the year 2000 have the possibility to still contain asbestos and should be presumed until proven otherwise.
Exposure to the asbestos-containing material can result in serious health problems. Three common health disorders that are associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres include:
Asbestosis —A progressive, serious noncancerous lung disease
Mesothelioma — A rare type of cancer that forms in the chest, heart, abdomen, and thin lining of the lung
Harmful health effects of asbestos exposure become apparent in four to five decades. Even short-term exposure can result in harmful health effects. At the present, there is no cure for asbestos related disorders.
WHEN WAS ASBESTOS BANNED?
The use of all asbestos within the UK was banned in November 1999. Crocidolite (blue) & Amosite (Brown) were banned back in 1985 together with some forms of Chrysotile (white) in 1992.