Asbestos: Fact vs Fiction30th November 2018
With all of the in information out there about asbestos, it can often be difficult to tell what’s true and what’s false. If you are concerned, or find some of the information overwhelming, don’t worry. In this article, we will be debunking asbestos myths.
A quick overview
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that can be split into six different types, each distinguishable by their colour. Asbestos found widespread industrial and commercial use because of its tensile strength, low cost, sound-dampening abilities and resistance to heat damage. As such, asbestos became commonplace in the manufacture of insulation, paper, cement additives, brake pads, drywall, yarn, cloth, and even medicine throughout its history.
Nowadays, however, asbestos is banned from use and has been for around 30 years, due to the clear links between asbestos and malignant mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer which targets the tissue lining of the lungs. Given how truth surrounding asbestos was only discovered long after its initial use, many myths concerning its safety have arisen, here are some of the most common:
If present in concrete, asbestos is safe
This, unfortunately, is false; when present in concrete or some other building material asbestos is still dangerous. However, in order for it be dangerous the asbestos must be disturbed such that the tiny fibres which asbestos is comprised of are released into the atmosphere and inhaled.
Asbestos is only dangerous after constant exposure
This is false. While exposure to asbestos on a regular basis will certainly increase the risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses and diseases, it is still very much possible to develop mesothelioma after one encounter with the substance.
You will feel the effects of asbestos right away
Most symptoms of asbestos-related diseases take at least ten years to manifest and, in the case of mesothelioma, can take anywhere from twenty to fifty years to become fully perceptible. This demonstrates the true danger of asbestos, as an illness can be developing for decades without you knowing.
If found, asbestos should be removed immediately
As stated earlier in this article, asbestos, if found present in a building material such as concrete, isn’t immediately dangerous. However, it will become dangerous if it is disturbed. With this in mind, when it comes to removing asbestos, it is the manner in which you remove it which is of real importance, rather than the speed.
Asbestos-related mesothelioma cases are always man-caused
While many cases are, this isn’t always true. Asbestos is a naturally occuring mineral and, as such, asbestos fibres can be found in the air in many places. Given that commercial use has declined dramatically, naturally-caused instances of mesothelioma are becoming more common.
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