The use of asbestos is now banned, but in the past it was a wonder material and used extensively as a building material.
It was most commonly used as:
- lagging on pipework, boilers and ducts
- boards, used as wall partitions, fire doors, ceiling tiles etc.
- cement products such as gutters, soffits, pipes, fascias, decorative plaster, wall, roof sheeting/tiles and cold water tanks.
- spray coating on steel work, concrete walls and ceilings, for fire protection and insulation.
- decorative coatings and floor tiles.
The majority of people now dying were exposed to asbestos during the 1950s and 1960s when its use was widespread, but exposure is still occurring. Only by preventing these exposures now, will asbestos-related disease eventually be eradicated.
When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres become airborne. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.
Asbestos can cause the following fatal and serious diseases:
Note: It is also important to remember that people who smoke and are also exposed to asbestos fibres, are at a much greater risk of developing lung cancer.