What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural mineral made up of several microscopic fibres. There is evidence of its existence and use as early as the Stone Ages, where it is thought to have been used for wicks in lamps and candles.

More recently, during the industrial revolution, it was hailed as the ideal supplement for everyday materials in the construction and automotive industries, due to its ability to add strength and insulation without adding excessive weight. It was commonly used in house building between 1930 and 1950 when its popularity peaked.

However, despite its benefits to these industries, asbestos posed and continues to pose many health risks to humans and can lead to fatal diseases such as cancer, lung disease and other respiratory illnesses.

Due to these risks to human life, asbestos use has been heavily regulated in many countries since the 1970s and was eventually banned entirely in the UK in 1999.

Despite this ban, asbestos continues to prove a threat today, due to its existence in homes – any home built before 2000 is thought to likely contain some asbestos.

Therefore, workers in industries likely to come in contact with asbestos must be aware of the risks and precautions required to protect themselves.

This article looks at the risks of Asbestos.

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