Asbestos – still a problem after all these years

As much as we like to think that we have progressed as a society and that we are slowly removing harmful substances and practices from our everyday lives, the reality is that we still have a long way to go. And not only do we have a long way to go to bring a halt to things like the production of single-use plastics or tobacco growth and abuse, but we also have a huge problem removing the problems of the past from our present and our future. One such problem is asbestos, a substance that was once used with alacrity around the world and which was subsequently shown to be extremely harmful. The questions now are where is it found? What needs to be done with it? How dangerous is it really? Should we be worried? Here are some answers.

Should we be worried

The answer to this question is ‘yes’, without a doubt you should be worried about asbestos. It is a nasty substance that is easily inhaled, and which then stays in eth lungs and causes them to harden. It leads to cancer and emphysema. The technical term for asbestos in the lung is asbestosis or malignant mesothelioma and it is a horrible way to die. If you live close to an industrial area, if you think that there might be asbestos in the air near you due to construction or other work then engage the services of somebody who offers asbestos air monitoring as a service. It is better to be safe than sorry – because asbestos fibres are light and small, they are easily breathed in and never breathed out!

What must I do if I find it?

Many people have asbestos or asbestos-containing products at their houses. This is not a reason to be alarmed. Asbestos was commonly found in heaters and roofing and in many houses, these products can still be encountered. The key here is if you become aware of the presence of asbestos then don’t look to dispose of it yourself. Bring in the experts. They will have the right equipment and they will do it the right way. If you try to tackle the problem, you are placing yourself at risk.

Where do I look for it?

As mentioned under the previous heading asbestos is commonly found in heaters, in the roofing and, bizarrely in fake snow. This fake snow is not manufactured anymore but there were several horror stories that derived from its use, not least the death of several actors who were exposed to lots of fake snow on movie sets. The Oscar-winning film The Wizard of Oz was one of many famous films that used asbestos snow.

What should be done with it?

In most countries, asbestos is recognized as being extremely dangerous and there are specific laws governing its disposal. You can’t just put it into the trash and hope for the best. It is regarded as a hazardous material and it will need to be taken to a special landfill for such materials and disposed of properly. Make sure that you follow the appropriate procedures if you are disposing of asbestos – but better yet, get a professional in to handle the process from start to finish.




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