Asbestos Surveys - SWT Asbestos Control & Management

What is Asbestos and Why is it Dangerous?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which has been used in a multitude of products for well over a hundred years.

It is versatile, plentiful and has many uses. It is normally used to give additional strength to materials, ie cement sheets of for its fireproofing and insulating properties ie pipe lagging

There are three main types of asbestos – chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite. They are usually called white, brown and blue asbestos respectively. However, they cannot be identified just by their colour. Laboratory analysis is required.

How does asbestos get into the body

Asbestos fibres enter the body through the nose and mouth; they cannot by absorbed through your skin. The body naturally gets rid of any asbestos fibres that you might take in with food and water. The body will not get rid of most of the larger fibres but any fibres can pass into the lung where they can cause disease. They can stay there for many years.

It is because fibres can remain in the lungs for so long that small but repeated exposures on different jobs, over the years can lead to the development of an asbestos related disease. This is why it is important to prevent or control exposure on every single job.

Why is asbestos dangerous?

  • All forms of asbestos are considered to be carcinogenic.
  • Breathing in asbestos fibres can lead to you developing one of three fatal diseases:
  • Asbestosis which is a scaring of the lung leading to shortness of breath
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma which is a cancer of the lining around the lungs and stomach
  • There is no cure for asbestos-related diseases.