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What is Asbestos

Though many people have heard of asbestos and are aware that it is a dangerous substance few people know the exact answer to what is asbestos. This lack of knowledge about its potential dangers can be fatal and I will therefore now outline both what is asbestos and what to do should you discover it in your home.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral that is naturally occurring within various rock formations around the world including the UK. It consists of hydrogen, oxygen and silicone and there are six different types of asbestos. There are only three types that are commonly used in the construction industry and these are called amosite, chrysotile and crocidolite. In the condition that is in when found, it is perfectly harmless however when it was mined in the past for use in the construction industry it was subsequently processed. This processing involved dividing it into incredibly thin layers and then mixed with other materials in order to bind it into application specific shapes. What was subsequently found out however was that upon being bounded into these shapes if it disturbed, these tiny layers or particles can break off and become airborne. They are incredibly small and therefore cannot be seen by human eyes and are light enough to remain airborne within an unventilated room for hours.

How dangerous is Asbestos really?

This is usually the next question that people ask after asking what is asbestos. The answer to this question is that it can be fatal to those exposed to it. The tiny invisible particles that I described above can be deadly if inhaled. A pretty scary statistic is that it is estimated that three thousand people die as a result of asbestos exposure every year in the UK alone. The illnesses that it causes include both lung cancer and Mesothelioma. What people often find strange however when first finding out about what is asbestos is that it can take years, even decades for exposure to actually lead to the development of these diseases. Many people that are currently dieing were exposed as far back as the seventies. Those that work in the construction industry are most at danger with other statistics estimating that eight electricians and four plumbers die from exposure each week.

What should I do if I find Asbestos in my Home?

The most important thing that you need to remember and probably the most important fact in this article is that asbestos only becomes dangerous if the particles break off of it. Therefore if the asbestos in your home has not been disturbed and is perfectly intact you are unlikely to be in immediate danger. You will be in immediate danger if you try to get it out of your home without knowing what you are doing however. Therefore should you discover it, you need to contact experts in asbestos management and removal. Do not attempt to handle it by yourself.

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