What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that has been used for around 150 years commercially. The use of asbestos dates back about 4500 years. It was discovered in Finland that earthenware pots and various utensils were strengthened with asbestos materials. Asbestos comes from the Greek words “inextinguishable" and “unquenchable." The term dates back to Roman times when naturalist Pliny the Elder had a manuscript on natural history and he used the term asbestinon.
Why was Asbestos used?
Asbestos is plentiful and versatile. It was used throughout the construction industry from 1950’s to the 1980’s because it was ideal as a fireproofing material and also an insulating material for electricity, heating and sound.
Where is Asbestos found in buildings?
Asbestos and Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) may be found in buildings constructed or refurbished before blue and brown asbestos were banned in 1985. Some ACM’s were still used up until 1999.
Does Asbestos need to be removed?
Whilst many people are in the firm belief that this is the case, there are instances where – as long as ACM’s are managed properly they can remain in place and encapsulated. If however, the ACM is liable to be disrupted and or damaged then it is highly recommended that the removal should be planned immediately.
Why is Asbestos dangerous?
There are three commonly encountered types of asbestos; Chrysotile (White), Crocidolite (Blue), and Amosite (Brown). All forms are potentially dangerous. Research shows that blue and brown are significantly more dangerous than white asbestos.
If asbestos is disturbed, fibres become airborne and can be inhaled. These fibres lodge in the lungs leading to several diseases, such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Who can remove Asbestos?
Asbestos should be removed only by a licensed asbestos removal contractor. Such licenses are granted to the company by the HSE.
Let us help you with all aspects of asbestos containment:
Asbestos has been used in a wide array of products over the years, some well known uses and some unusual ones. We have compiled the ten most unusual uses of asbestos that we know of:
A brand of toothpaste was marketed as using asbestos fibres as an abrasive
In the middle ages an emperor had a tablecloth made out of asbestos, which he threw in the fire to clean off the grease, but which left the tablecloth unharmed
Insulation for rocket engines on space shuttles
Old hood style hair dryers contained a layer of asbestos inside the hood to stop customers getting burnt
Components in electrolytic cells that make oxygen on submerged nuclear submarines
Chlorine for bleach, cleansers and disinfectants is produced using asbestos products
Make-up and talcum powder
Filters for straining fruit juice
Heart surgeons used asbestos thread to close incisions