What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring, fibrous material with insulation and fire retardant properties. In its heyday, asbestos was incorporated into a wide range of building products from roofing & ceiling tiles pipe insulation and sprayed coatings like Artex.  There are three types of asbestos, white, brown and blue.

A brief history of asbestos

2500 BC - First archeological evidence for the use of asbestos
1800 - The industrial revolution created a huge boom in the demand for asbestos thanks to is’s use as an insulating material for steam pipes and boilers.
1899 - Invention of Eternit, the first commercial product combining asbestos and cement
1900's - Asbestos usage continues to grow thanks to its low cost, insulation and fire retardant properties
1930's - Germany reports the first deaths from asbestos related cancer
1950's - Asbestos starts to regularly used in the construction of buildings
1960's - Research proved that there was a causal link between working with asbestos and the incidence of mesothelioma and other serious illnesses
1999 - The UK Government bans the use of most types of asbestos with the signing of the Asbestos (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Regulations


Asbestos related diseases

There is now no doubt that there is a causal link between the inhalation of loose asbestos fibres and a number of serious medical conditions. The reason it took so long to establish this connection is because it takes between 15 and 60 years after exposure for symptoms to develop. The HSE estimate that there are currently more that 4000 deaths a year in the UK from asbestos related disease.

Mesothelioma (a cancer of the lining of the lungs that always results in death)
Asbestos-related lung cancer that is usually fatal
Asbestosis (a severely debilitating condition resulting from scarring of the lungs)
Diffuse pleural thickening (a thickening of the membrane surrounding the lungs leading to breathlessness)

Asbestos Surveying – a legal requirement

The following regulations apply to non-domestic properties - HSG 265, The Asbestos Survey Guide (2010) and the Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR 2012).
Legal duty to have surveys plans, legal consequences
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