Asbestos is widely regarded as a silent killer that often goes undetected, and the mere thought of its presence in the building surrounding you is enough to cause unease and concern. You may be held liable for the substance’s effects if you are the building’s proprietor.

The dangers of the mineral have been well documented over the years, and its use in construction has been outlawed in some nations.

What does this mean for building proprietors today, and what are the applicable laws?

If the risk has not subsided, what are the threats to the current generation?

In this blog post, Ark Waterproofing will evaluate the hazards of asbestos in buildings, the risks it poses, and what you should do to have it removed from your property.

What Is Asbestos?

If you’re unsure about what you’re dealing with, this is a helpful starting point. “Asbestos” refers to minerals that occur naturally and possess several unique properties. It is resistant to chemical and thermal degradation, can withstand fire and electricity, have robust fibers, and can be woven and used as a binding agent.

Asbestos can be classified into two groups: Serpentine, which is also known as Chrysotile asbestos; and amphiboles, which include Amosite/Grunerite and Crocidolite asbestos.

There are three additional types of Amphiboles, namely anthophyllite, actinolite, and tremolite. These types do not have any significant commercial value, and as a result, they are not frequently extracted from mines.

Amphiboles are believed to be more hazardous than serpentines because of the way their fibers are shaped and formed.

Additionally, there is a greater amount of proof connecting them to deaths related to asbestos. It’s important to be careful when dealing with any form of asbestos. If you’re not sure how much of it is present, it’s crucial to follow the proper procedures when removing items that contain this substance.

Asbestos Was Commonly Used In Construction.

People have been using asbestos for a long time in various things such as clothing, pottery, and candle wicks. Although asbestos has been around for a long time, it wasn’t commonly used in construction until the Industrial Revolution. At that time, it was used for things like steam engines, boilers, turbines, and pipe insulation because it was great at resisting fire and providing insulation.

The product started to become very popular in the 1900s. This was due to the development of new technologies, a shortage of resources, a strong need for rebuilding, and an industry that was looking for affordable and efficient building options.

When asbestos was widely used, people considered it a valuable resource. However, as medical research revealed its harmful effects, people started using it less and less.

In 1963, a well-respected research paper titled ‘Asbestos as a Modern Urban Hazard’ was published. It was followed by further studies conducted by experts in the field, such as Selikoff, Chung, and Hammond, which provided more conclusive evidence linking asbestos to the diseases that are now associated with it.

One of the most concerning things about the risks associated with asbestos is that it usually takes anywhere from 20 to 50 years before symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses start to show up. It’s important to make sure that if we suspect asbestos removal or damage, we handle it properly to minimize the risk of anyone being exposed to it in the future.

Asbestos Poses a Significant Health Risk.

According to statistics, asbestos is responsible for the deaths of approximately 4000+ workers every year. Additionally, 20 tradesmen pass away each week due to previous exposure to the substance. These figures are alarming and demonstrate that asbestos is still a significant and legitimate danger, not just for tradespeople and those involved in its removal, but also for those who work in the construction industry and people living in nearby areas.

When the products containing asbestos get damaged, catch fire, or are disturbed, the asbestos fibers may become loose and airborne, which can pose a risk. If someone inhales these small fibers, they won’t break down and will stay stuck in the lungs forever. This can cause serious illnesses as the body tries to fight off these foreign objects.

At first, you may experience soreness, inflammation, and infection, which could potentially result in one of several diseases. These are all medical conditions related to exposure to asbestos.

It’s a known fact that individuals who are exposed to asbestos and also smoke have a much higher risk of developing lung cancer. Smoking seems to accelerate the growth of cancer in such cases. As mentioned earlier, the fibers in cigarettes can directly expose harmful chemicals to the bloodstream, which significantly enhances the cancer-causing effects.

Asbestos Cement Used In Roofing.

Asbestos was widely used in roofing and insulation during the 20th century because of its excellent thermal properties and high resistance to fire. Today, many buildings still have roofs made of asbestos cement sheets, which are a popular roofing material.

Asbestos roof sheets can develop issues as they get older and become more fragile over time. When the mineral fibers become exposed and loose, it increases the risk of harm to people.

Usually, you don’t need to inform the local authority to remove Asbestos cement sheets. This means that you can do the work without their guidance. The reason for this is that the asbestos fibers commonly used are typically Chrysotile asbestos, which is known to have a lower risk compared to amphiboles asbestos, based on statistics. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the sheets only make up about 10% of the overall composition. As a result, they are not considered to pose a significant risk to human health.

It’s important to mention that if the asbestos cement sheets haven’t been weathered, they pose a higher risk because weathering can cause erosion and further damage to the sheets. When asbestos-containing materials are left out in the open, they can be damaged by various environmental factors such as frost, moisture, UV rays, acid rain, and more. This can cause the fibers to become exposed and leave larger areas of the material unprotected.

Surveying For Asbestos.

If you’re a building owner and worried about asbestos, it’s a good idea to have a roofing specialist inspect and survey the roof. After you finish the survey, the next step could be to remove the substance.

Refurbishing An Asbestos Cement Roof.

At Ark Waterproofing, we can help you get rid of any roof or wall materials that contain asbestos. We can offer a couple of options to the client based on the condition of the asbestos product. Get in touch with us today and have a conversation with our team.

Removing Asbestos Sheets and Replacing The Roof.

If the sheets are in a really bad condition and the asbestos fibers are exposed, it’s probably best to remove and dispose of the asbestos safely. After that, you can replace them with a modern and safe flat roofing solution.

In situations like this, there are several factors that must be considered. At Ark Waterproofing, we ensure complete transparency throughout the entire process and prioritize the health and safety of everyone in the building above all else.

At our company, we take the safety of our workers seriously. We ensure that all of our workers receive the necessary training, use the correct equipment, and are provided with suitable protection to keep them safe while they work with asbestos.