The Potential Lethality of Asbestos. Asbestos is a hazardous material that has a rich history in the UK and was used regularly in building between the 1950s and the late 1990s. Asbestos that is well maintained or not disturbed or damaged is much less of a risk to health. The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) reports that asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers per year, which is higher than fatalities on the road. The rates of death from past exposure are still significantly high, at around 20 deaths each week. With buildings built before 2,000 still having the possibility of asbestos presence, it is vital to understand the potential lethality of asbestos and how to assess risk.
Asbestos fibres are able to release into the air if areas that contain the material are damaged or disturbed. If inhaled, these fibres can cause significant damage and very serious illnesses that can be fatal. It is also important to be aware that fibres can also attach themselves to body and clothes and be transported easily to those contacted. Although effects of exposure to asbestos can lead to death, the effects often take a long time to manifest and they develop slowly. This often means that diagnosis comes too late to allow for successful treatment.
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) reports that asbestos still kills around 5,000 workers per year, which is higher than fatalities on the road.
Some of the more common illnesses caused by asbestos exposure include:
– Mesothelioma. This condition is a cancer that attacks the pleura and has been found in those who have had low levels of exposure on multiple times. Mesothelioma is an incurable disease.
– Asbestos-related lung cancer. This cancer presents itself in the same way as lung cancer, it grows and can spread in the same way.
– Asbestosis. Mostly found in those who have been exposed to asbestos in great quantities or for longer periods, asbestosis is a serious scarring of the lungs. The scarring shrinks the lungs, making breathing more difficult.
– Pleural thickening. This illness occurs predominantly in those who have suffered heavy exposure to asbestos. The pleura, the lining of the lungs, swell and thicken which can lead to breathing difficulties and chest pains.For anyone who thinks that they may have been exposed to asbestos previously, it is advisable to discuss concerns with a GP. This is particularly important for anyone who has been exposed and is experienced breathing difficulties, chest pains or coughing. Exposure may have come from previous jobs, living with others who have worked with asbestos or from living in properties that have asbestos is the building.
Asbestos is still present in several buildings and environments, but so long as it is well maintained and not damaged, the risk to health is minimal. For anyone who believes that their health may have been impaired from the exposure to asbestos, it is vital that health is assessed by a medical expert. Conditions that are diagnosed early are more readily and successfully treated. Furthermore, asbestos that is found to be damaged needs to be quickly dealt with by a professional company to eliminate additional risks. When working in environments, it is vital to understand the potential lethality of asbestos to preserve health and welfare.
If you would like to find out more about the dangers of asbestos, call us today on 0844 818 0895.
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