Asbestos: Dispelling the myths surrounding a hidden killer which threatens us all

Asbestos: Dispelling 3 common myths

What does asbestos mean to you?

For the vast majority of people it’s just a building material from the past, something they may know is dangerous, but something they rarely – if ever – think about.

But what if we were to tell you that you are surrounded by asbestos, that despite being banned more than 20 years ago, it can be found in many of our public buildings, including the office you work in, the hospital you visit and the school you dropped your child off at only this morning?

As Global Asbestos Awareness Week gets underway today, Saturday, April 1, we want to use it as opportunity to dispel some common myths and raise awareness of the hidden killer which continues to threaten us all.

Myth 1: Asbestos is a thing of the past

While the use of asbestos was banned in new buildings in the UK in 1999 it is still a common feature in buildings right across the UK.

It was used extensively in buildings in the years immediately after the Second World War, when demand for new infrastructure was at its height. As it was cheap and had many attractive qualities, it was used in many public buildings and even in new homes.

Much of the asbestos which was used at the time still remains inside those buildings, posing a significant risk to health, particularly as those buildings start to age.

Myth 2: Mesothelioma only affects older people

Sadly, this just isn’t true.

Mesothelioma, the cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, can affect anyone of any age, at any time.

Through our work with Mesothelioma UK, the national charity which does extraordinary work to support people and families affected by this terrible disease, we know that the lives of many young people are tragically cut short as a result.

It is true that some people have a higher risk of a exposure to the fibres as a direct result of the work they do, so people in the construction industry, including carpenters, plumbers and roofers should take particular care.

But we are also aware of a number of teachers who have been directly affected by mesothelioma due to asbestos still being a common feature in many schools.

Myth 3: Asbestos isn’t used in houses

Wrong again!

Any home built before 1999 should be checked, as it was used widely in new housing, particularly in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Commonly used in roof spaces, around pipework and boilers and often in ceilings and panelling, asbestos can be found anywhere and could put you and your family at risk if it is damaged accidentally and the fibres released into the air.

It’s particularly important to check for the presence of asbestos if you are planning any refurbishment or renovation work, whether that’s on an office, or private home.

The risks of starting work and then releasing asbestos is presence are huge and could lead to costly fines if it is not handled in the correct way.

If you’re in any doubt, get in touch with the team of experts at Acorn Analytical Services today.

As one of the leading asbestos and health and safety consultancies in the UK, we are always here to help and advise you in any way we can.

Acorn Analytical Services helps organisations and charities deal with asbestos compliance using surveysair testing, and removal management. 

Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Ian Stone

I am based out of our Northampton office but regularly travel to meet with new and existing clients. I have assisted thousands of clients over the years on varying-sized projects, several have been schemes totalling over one million pounds spent purely on asbestos. Together with Neil Munro, I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I am Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

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