Asbestos – Know the Facts
Asbestos is a fibrous material that occurs naturally and has been used for centuries; since Roman times, in fact. The material has a number of useful properties that have been used in construction for many years. Historians would leave us to believe that as much as 6 million tonnes of asbestos has been excavated over the years from countries far and wide, including China, Africa, USA, Canada and Russia to name but a few.
Asbestos is the commercial name given to the material, rather than its geological name and it usually comes in three colours; blue, brown and white. White asbestos is usually known as chrysotile and there are several other types, in addition to the main three.
Asbestos has been popular in years gone by for a number of reasons. It is mainly used for its resilience to heat, electricity currents, its sound proofing capabilities and its resistance to chemical, vermin and insect attacks. All of these qualities make them perfect for construction and as such it was included in cements and coating sprays. But over the years it became apparent that the very properties that make asbestos so useful also make it dangerous to the health. It was found that asbestos fibres caused diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma if inhaled.
Because of the dangers associated with asbestos, regulations needed to be brought in. There were regulations as such in the past, but these were condensed into the Control of Asbestos Regulations of 2006. These regulations were introduced to replace three sets of regulations for the control of asbestos at work, the prohibition of asbestos and the licensing of products containing asbestos. The problem of asbestos is to such an extent that asbestos related illnesses are now considered to be the biggest occupational hazard in the UK today.
The effects of asbestos inhalation very rarely take shape immediately. They usually take anywhere between 10 and 60 years to effect the health. This means that although buildings no longer use asbestos in their construction today, the full effects of being in contact with asbestos in the past could still surface.
Find out more about mesothelioma compensation here. You could be eligible to make a claim.