Asbestos. You’ve probably heard about it, but what is it, and why is it a problem?
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of long, thin crystalline fibres. This unique composition makes asbestos extremely fire-resistant. Asbestos use goes all the way back to the stone age when its flexibility lent itself to making ceramics stronger. Persians of the 6th century popularized asbestos as a miraculous fireproof fabric. In the 13th century, Marco Polo reported finding a ‘fabric made of stone’ in China. In the 19th century during the industrial revolution, the fire-resistant properties of asbestos made it a popular component of many products- clothing and bedding, clothes irons, door gaskets for oil and coal furnaces, automobile clutches and brakes, various types of insulation, and, perhaps most famously, building materials. Roofing shingles, insulation, wallboard, flooring tiles, and various paints all used asbestos to give them fire retardant qualities- asbestos was everywhere! Everyone thought asbestos was wonderful stuff, a miraculous tool for fire prevention, until the 1970s when it was discovered that it was making people sick- very sick.
Why is asbestos dangerous, and what can we do about it?
The dangerous presence of airborne asbestos fibres can be caused by a variety of common activities like product use, home maintenance, repairs, remodelling, building, and demolition work. Asbestos can damage the lungs, causing shortness of breath, chest pain, and wheezing. Continued exposure can lead to several serious health conditions, foremost being a lung disease called asbestosis, a kind of pulmonary fibrosis that can prove fatal. Another harmful condition caused by asbestos is mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs. So, how can we protect ourselves from asbestos? There’s only one way, and that is its complete removal from our living environment. If you suspect something in your life contains asbestos you can call for help. The trained professionals at PRC Building Services can provide, safe, expert asbestos removal in Perth. If you have any concerns about asbestos in your life, give them a call right away!
Now that we have recognized that the useful aspects of asbestos are outweighed by its terrible cost to human health, many countries including Australia, the European Union, and the USA have banned asbestos as a health hazard. Even so, there are still remnants of it to be found. Now you know what to do- get expert help!