Asbestos Awareness – Dispelling the Myths

Asbestos awareness is growing and most people know something of the dangers associated with exposure to it. However, there are still a lot of myths that need to be dispelled if we are to fully understand the potential health hazards.

1.On identifying asbestos in your home or workplace it must be removed immediately

If there is no damage to the product, there is no immediate health hazard.  Do not rip up suspect floor tiles, chip back plaster or anything else since you will release fibres into the air.

The first thing to do is get an asbestos testing kit or hire a qualified asbestos surveyor to assess the risk.  Samples taken from suspected asbestos products can be tested very quickly.  Once the test results come back you can seek advice from Asbestos Sampling or your surveyor as to what to do.

2.There is no asbestos in new buildings

A recent survey, conducted by the Health & Safety Executive, revealed that just 15 percent of participants knew that builders were still using asbestos in the construction of residential and commercial properties right up until 2000. Hence if your property was built before 2000 there is a fair chance it will contain some asbestos.

3.Drinking water after working with asbestos will prevent asbestosis

The myth that having a drink after breathing in asbestos fibres will prevent asbestosis was shared by 14 percent of those questioned by the 2014 HSE survey.  27 percent believed that as long as a window was open and asbestos dust could escape, they’d be fine!  Neither is true!

To read the full report on the survey click on HSE Beware Asbestos Campaign

4.Masks prevent the inhalation of asbestos fibres

The normal masks you can purchase in a DIY store will not prevent you breathing in the fibres.  There are strict health and safety guidelines applicable to working with asbestos.

You need to be wearing protective clothing and a specialist face mask with filtration to be protected.  An asbestos testing kit contains everything you need to take samples safely.

5.You can catch Mesothelioma

Many people believe that Mesothelioma is contagious – it isn’t.  The only way you might contract the disease from another person is if someone has been working with asbestos and the lethal fibres are clinging to their clothes.  In this way you might breathe them in.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos.  It’s a really sneaky cancer because often sufferers are not aware of the symptoms until it is too late.  Worse, it can take many years to manifest. It’s therefore important to tell your GP if you have been exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos awareness can save lives

Currently in the UK, 20 people per week die from diseases that are directly related to asbestos.   As more people learn about the risks and asbestos awareness grows, we hope fatalities will reduce.

If you suspect there is any asbestos in your home invest in a testing kit from Asbestos Sampling. The kit is not expensive, starting at under £30, and is the first step to making your residential or working environment safe. For more information about the kits or a specific project call us on 0800 368 8849 or chat to us live on our website.