What is Asbestos?
Asbestos refers to a set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals. Asbestos has six primary sub-classifications: chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite. Among these, chrysotile and amosite asbestos are the most common.
Although asbestos fibers are microscopic in nature, they are extremely durable and resistant to fire and most chemical reactions and breakdowns. These properties of asbestos were the reasons that supported its use for many years in a number of different commercial and industrial capacities. The strength of asbestos, combined with its resistance to heat, allowed it to become the material of choice in a variety of products, including, but not limited to, roofing shingles, floor tiles, ceiling materials, cement compounds, textile products, and automotive parts. Asbestos is now strictly regulated as exposure to this toxic mineral can now be directly and scientifically linked to a number of lung and respiratory health conditions.
Why is Asbestos Hazardous?
The use of asbestos sharply declined in the late 1970s when it became evident that asbestos posed a threat to human health and safety. Today, asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen. The property of durability—which made asbestos so desirable to manufacturers—is that which makes asbestos hazardous. Asbestos fibers are microscopic (roughly .02 the diameter of a human hair), and therefore, are easily inhaled. Once inhaled, the fibers cling to the respiratory system, including the lining of the lungs and inner cavity tissue. As asbestos fibers are typically quite rigid, they become lodged in the soft internal tissue of the respiratory system and are not easily expelled or broken-down by the body.
Hundreds of thousands of people were exposed to asbestos in some capacity as a result of the mineral’s extensive use in domestic, commercial, and industrial products. There is no safe type of asbestos and no safe level of exposure. Nearly all those with exposure history are potentially at risk of serious respiratory health complications.
Asbestos Sampling / Testing Service
Our asbestos analysis service can arrange for samples to be taken on site and transported to Anchem Laboratories Ltd for a complete analysis, all in accordance with HSG 248 and UKAS in-house procedures No. ANC/AS/1