Little Known Asbestos Facts
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral and can typically be found in rock, sediment or soil. It has strong fibres that are heat resistant and have good insulating properties. You can’t see asbestos fibres with the naked eye and because they are very light, they can be blown long distances by the wind.
There are higher risks though in industrial workplaces such as mines, shipyards, construction sites, and railroads since there are higher degrees of asbestos use. Thus, people who have worked in these places are likely to have higher risks of contracting asbestos diseases. This is also the reason why mesothelioma, laryngeal cancer or asbestosis are considered as occupational diseases.Asbestos diseases will only develop in relation to the degree of exposure. There should be enough concentration of asbestos in the air we breathe before we even begin to develop asbestos disease silently. If such concentration is not met, the likelihood that a person will contract the disease is very low thus, even if you were around a house with dilapidated roofing made of asbestos, that is still not enough reason for your body to react violently. Companies who practice regulation of the degree of asbestos fiber in the atmosphere of the worksites are at very low risks of jeopardizing the health of their workmen.
For the eye of the unsuspecting public, asbestos is a miracle material that protects their houses and other materials from easily contracting fire. But, behind these advantages to homeowners, the industrial workers suffer from health hazards that are oftentimes fatal. Asbestos was primarily used to fireproof houses; it was also popular as a roofing. However, during the recent years, many diseases have been related to it and it is apparent that many more will be discovered that can be directly rooted to asbestos. But asbestos, as is, does not really cause the diseases. Instead, the culprit is known to be the asbestos fiber that comes from the damaged asbestos materials. These accumulate through continuous dilapidation of asbestos-based products, say the roofing of your attic. Once there are conditions that led to the damaging of the asbestos, it is likely that the material will release asbestos fiber that can be sent to the air. The danger now comes when a person inhales the asbestos fiber since it will likely stay in the air passages - the lungs, thus leaving fibers that can cause asbestos diseases.
Removing asbestos, unless you’re removing less than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos, you must be licensed to remove asbestos. If you are removing less than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos it is still recommended that you engage a licensed removalist and undertake asbestos awareness training.
A total ban on asbestos came into effect in Australia on 31 December 2003. It is illegal to make it, use it or import it from another country. Workers must not handle asbestos unless they have been trained and hold a licence that is current and appropriate for the type of work being done.
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