5 Oct 2010

Guest Blog: Dos and Don’ts of Asbestos Removal

Alex Johnson contacted me to write this guest blog - I don't often accept the offers but this issue could do with a mention. Firstly it came up as a question in the recent Eco-Renovation Open Homes and secondly I am aware that money has been raised locally in The Vine Tree to raise awareness of mesothelioma. Also Stroud solicitors have campaigned for 30 years to get justice for folk like many of the former employees of Chalford-based asbestos company Fibrecrete. One story I remember and traced is now on the Stroud History website - see here.

Anyway earlier this year campaigning Stroud lawyer, Peter Hankins, is quoted commenting on the High Court ruling - a landmark victory for dozens of asbestos victims in the Stroud Valleys - the court ruling for insurance companies to pay out compensation for when a worker was exposed to asbestos and not when the symptoms appeared was a great improvement.

Fibrecrete closed in 1971 but asbestos and similar illnesses have an incredibly long tail, or lead in time. Currently, it is thought that there are around 1,500 mesothelioma deaths a year in the UK, four or five of which are in Stroud - indeed it is said that cases are likely to peak locally in about 2015. Anyway let's get to the Guest Blog before I turn it into one of mine! Apols Alex!

Dos and Don’ts of Asbestos Removal and Remodelling

From the 1930s through the 1970s, a naturally occurring mineral substance known as asbestos was widely used in the construction industry and throughout the military. Asbestos was an excellent insulator, fire resistant, inexpensive and easy to handle, increasing its popularity for all types of buildings, from homes and offices to hospitals and schools. It was not until the late 1970s that the dangers of asbestos exposure became evident. Investigations proved that asbestos creates a hazardous living and working environment. Asbestos exposure has been directly linked to a deadly cancer, known as mesothelioma, which occurs when asbestos fibers are absorbed or inhaled into the body. Other complications due to asbestos exposure can include asbestosis, lung cancer, and a variety of other respiratory diseases. The use of asbestos as a building material was banned in the late 1970s. But the mineral still remains in older, non-renovated buildings and, to a lesser degree, in many of today’s common products, Because of the severe health dangers caused by contact with asbestos, safe removal techniques are needed, under the direction of highly trained asbestos abatement technicians.

Update 7th Oct 2010: See more info at: www.mesotheliomasymptoms.com

Safely Removing Asbestos

Asbestos removal is often required when a building is still intact but the asbestos layers are beginning to come apart. Asbestos insulation can suddenly begin to crumble and deteriorate, causing millions of asbestos particles and fibers to be released into the air. Asbestos does not become dangerous until it is disturbed and the fibers are aggravated. There are serious risks involved in the asbestos removal procedure because the process is very dangerous, so it should not to be taken lightly. Only highly trained, experienced, and skilled professionals should undertake an asbestos removal project. Preplanning is required when removing asbestos; safety measures should be taken before beginning the project and a hazard-free work place should be established as well. Other methods of containing asbestos to be considered are sealing or encapsulation.

Managing Asbestos in the Home

If asbestos is present in a home, but is in good condition, the best option is to not disturb the layers. Removal of asbestos is considered to be the most dangerous form of asbestos control, so it should only be done as a last resort. Removal is also the most expensive method of control because of the dangers associated with the removal. Disturbing the asbestos can release the hazardous fibers into the air, which can be inhaled and cause serious health problems. An asbestos presence can cause complications when remodeling a home or building. It is imperative to not cause any damage to asbestos layers. Sawing, sanding, or drilling into materials that contain asbestos will release the problematic fibers. If asbestos is disturbed, never use a vacuum or broom to clean up the particles, as this will cause them to move through the air and make inhalation of the particles more probable. If fibers are released and need to be cleaned up, a wet mop is recommended to pick up the fibers. Remodeling with asbestos is a project for only highly trained professionals. If you are not trained in asbestos removal, contact professionals for proper assistance.


asbestos management said...

Great article. Very factual.

Asbestos removal Perth said...

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