Asbestos is found in buildings throughout the UK. Therefore, people are regularly exposed to the hazardous fibres in low amounts. Asbestos becomes a disease risk when a person breathes in too many of the fibres.
How Asbestos Affects Health
If you plan to demolish a building or renovate an older property, you need to contact an experienced asbestos removal company in Wednesbury first. Currently, asbestos-related deaths in the UK stand at around 4,000 annually. The four primary asbestos-related diseases include the following:
- Lung cancer (typically fatal)
- Asbestosis (debilitating or fatal)
- Diffuse pleural thickening (not a fatal condition)
- Mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs (always fatal)
The above-listed diseases do not affect people right away. Instead, they are often diagnosed later. When a diagnosis is made, it often is too late to do anything about the condition. Moreover, people who smoke increase their risk of developing lung cancer if they are regularly exposed to asbestos.
Where Asbestos Usually Originates
Asbestos is found in nature and represents a naturally formed mineral known as hydrous magnesium silicate. The mineral was primarily sourced from South Africa and Canada. About five million tonnes of asbestos have been imported and used in the UK. At this time, experts estimate that about five hundred thousand buildings contain or have contained the substance.
Three primary classifications of asbestos are known: chrysotile, which is used mainly in cement; amosite, which is used in asbestos insulation board (AIB); and crocidolite, which is used in insulation and coatings. While chrysotile is a white asbestos, amosite is brown in colour and crocidolite is blue. Crocidolite is considered the most hazardous asbestos of the three.