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What is Asbestos?

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Asbestos is a group of fibrous silicate minerals, which in industrial times have been mined and used in building products for their unique properties:

Fire resistance
Thermal insulation
Chemical resistance
Tensile Strength
Acoustic insulation

It is estimated that 6 million tonnes of asbestos was imported into the United Kingdom during the 20th century; this was then used to make 24 million tonnes of building products.  The HSE suggest that 75% of these products remain in our buildings today!

Asbestos fibres are very thin mineral fibres sometimes less than 0.02 microns in diameter.  If asbestos is disturbed, and the fibres are inhaled, the exposed individual may develop asbestosis, lung cancer, or a rare cancer called mesothelioma.  Currently 4-5000 people die from asbestos related diseases each year in the UK and 100,000 annually worldwide. 

There are many asbestiform minerals, however the most common and regulated types are:

  • Crocidolite (Blue) (common)
  • Amosite (Brown) (common)
  • Chrysotile (White) (common)
  • Tremolite
  • Actinolite
  • Anthophyllite

We could write endless pages about asbestos, however if you have any questions you would like us to answer, just get in touch with us, or read our articles for more technical discussions.

COMMENTS

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Marcus Hill - Director

To understand how dangerous asbestos is, imagine the tiniest dirtiest dusty deadly substance possible, and then make it invisible.

On April 14, 2014, 18:01

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