Asbestos is the name given to several naturally-forming mineral fibres that can be positively identified using a special type of microscope. Left undisturbed, these are completely harmless and they provide a wide range of benefits such as heat and fire resistance, insulation, and much more. For this reason, asbestos was once utilised in a wide range of products to strengthen them and to provide insulation from heat and fire resistance. However, this is not the case any longer due to the ban of asbestos use in construction in 1999 and this ban was caused because asbestos is a fibre found to cause dangerous injury to the human body when inhaled or ingested.
Asbestos can be found in many different products but most no longer contain it as an ingredient since the ban. Those few products that do retain asbestos as an ingredient must be properly labelled, regardless of the risk of asbestos disturbance. Common products that once contained this material include but are not limited to steam pipes, boilers, furnace ducts, adhesives, door gaskets, patching and joint compounds, artificial ashes and embers, and insulation.
Who Needs the Survey
If your building was erected prior to 1979, it is critical that you have it surveyed by a company with the right equipment and safety materials. Visiting companies such as Amicus Environmental will grant you access to such a service and the professionals behind it will be glad to help you understand why you might need such a survey. There are many buildings that require this survey and it is important that you not put this off when moving into an older building, renovating, or otherwise disturbing the building materials.
Public buildings with interior space to be used for public purposes such as schools, prisons, hospitals, and any other similar type of building require the survey before opening. Interior spaces include exterior hallways, any connection buildings, porticos, and the air conditioning system. This will ensure that any potentially dangerous asbestos fibres cannot be accidentally disturbed through the normal use of the public building and then be inhaled by those using it.
Commercial buildings should also immediately get a survey before opening the doors to employees or workers of any kind. This is especially true in company buildings using heavy machinery, scaffolding, or any other type of machinery that could disturb asbestos fibres. Having a survey conducted will ensure that all people using the building remain safe.
Finally, any residential buildings built prior to the ban are extremely likely to have asbestos materials inside, which are harmless unless disturbed. If you fear that you might have an issue as you make ready for renovations in your home, a survey will help you prevent a serious exposure incident.
Signs of Exposure
In very rare cases, a person can become exposed to asbestos before he or she knows that he or she is in its presence and it is important to know some of the warning signs following inhalation. Asbestos exposure, also known as asbestosis, is a type of pulmonary fibrosis caused by inhaling the fibres into the lungs and they remain there even with heavy coughing and cleansing. Symptoms include swelling of the neck or face, difficulty swallowing, high blood pressure, hypertension, crackling sounds when breathing, and weight loss.