Most of you should know… but many of you may not know… that there is a silent killer lurking in millions of homes and offices the world over. The painful truth is that you are probably not far from it right now. This substance has been proven to be a potent carcinogenic, which means it can give you cancer! Have you guessed what it is yet? Asbestos.
Asbestos was once used widely as a building material. It’s a natural mineral found in South Africa and certain parts of the US, which is renowned for its resistant properties. This material is resistant to cold, heat, corrosion, adverse weather and aging. It also compression resistant, depending on how it is manufactured, making it one of the best building materials around. Due to these qualities, asbestos was used in almost every type of construction for decades. It was versatile too… being made into coatings, tiles, pipes… you name it.
A pre-demolition asbestos survey should be completed by UKAS-accredited specialists – it’s not something you can do yourself. As mentioned, this ensures everyone involved is aware of the risks and the precautions that must be taken to avoid injury. They’ll also know where to look and how to identify and remove any problem materials. The result is a more conclusive report and no danger of anything being missed.
To help ensure everything goes smoothly, you’ll be asked to provide your surveyor with a site layout, building plans and any recorded history of asbestos presence in the building. This will help to speed up the process too – and the sooner it’s done, the sooner work can begin!
For a time, this was great… however, asbestos workers started getting seriously ill some decades after working within asbestos factories. What’s more… people close to them sometimes got ill as well. Stricken by a lung cancer in all most all cases, authorities were quick to launch investigations and find causality.
It’s worth saying first of all that a pre-demolition asbestos survey will be intrusive, and damage is likely to be caused. This is because it involves trained specialists digging deep into every nook and cranny to find potential ACMs – if they didn’t search thoroughly, there’s a risk that unnoticed dangerous materials will pose a threat later on.
The experts carrying out this work will understand the risks and be properly prepared to disturb asbestos as they go – with all of the necessary training and safety equipment. The same can’t be said for demolition teams or other surveyors that may be involved at a later date.
Once the survey is complete, the team will put together an official report detailing anything they have found and removed from the property. They’ll also then have to certify that the building is ‘fit for reoccupation’.
It wasn’t long before a link between asbestos and lung cancer was found. The asbestos industry went from its peak to nonexistence in a heart beat! This obviously stemmed the production of new asbestos-based products… however, what became of the millions of tonnes of asbestos items already in use? Well… most of it is still in place!
Isn’t this dangerous? Well… yes and no.
To understand my next point, you need to understand what makes asbestos so great as a building material. Put simply, it’s water retardant. At a molecular level, it actually repels water. This is why it is so resistant to corrosion. This is great news if you’re trying to build something… but bad news for the human body. Why? Because we are almost 80 percent made of water. When asbestos particles make their way into the lungs, they embed themselves into our tissues. The body is unable to remove them because mucus (the body’s way of defending itself) is almost entirely made of water. Therefore, the infected tissues cannot be attended to by the body and they get infected, which ultimately results in cancer and death — not good.
Don’t panic! So now that we’ve got you worried… we should provide some reassurance. Asbestos in the most part is completely safe IF it is left undisturbed. If you find some… the worst thing you can do is start breaking it up! Just leave it in place if you can. If you must remove the offending item, it is a legal requirement for you to call in a licensed contractor to do the work. This is gonna cost you money… but it’s probably better than dying from lung cancer — right?
That’s all we’ve got for you for today. Stay posted for more news and updates.