A single mention of the word asbestos is enough to conjure up associations of an almost radioactive substance - contagious, peculiar, and lethal to whoever it is exposed to. Used very liberally in virtually every aspect of post-war construction, countless buildings across the UK are still awash with an unquantifiable amount of asbestos further adding to the current scare. Whist it is widely understood that asbestos exposure to humans is fatal, many people outside of the asbestos trade struggle to understand the physical effects of asbestos on the human body.
Figures from the UK’s health and safety executive highlighted an upward curve in deaths from mesothelioma (a type of cancer caused by asbestos) to 2,523 - almost double the 1995’s figure. Experts suggest that this number of deaths relates to those who were exposed during peak usage periods (1970’s) and took the expected 40 year latency period to develop and succumb to the disease. So why does it take this long to develop symptoms and what happens when you are exposed?
Asbestos Fibers Penetrate Deep Into The Lungs
Asbestos usually appears as a flakey, crumbly, caked-on material and is made from a number of extremely fine fibers. When asbestos is disturbed, millions of these fibres suddenly become airborne in the immediate environment and can stay like this for days. If these microfibers are ingested by an individual, the size of them is so minute, they can even surpass the moist mucus-coated trachea and bronchial tubes. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer almost exclusive to asbestos exposure because it is one of the only cancers that develop on the lining of the lungs - the exact area only asbestos fibres can penetrate.
The sharpness of each asbestos fibre aggravates the soft tissue causing thousands of small scars. In addition to causing mesothelioma, damaged lung tissue can result in shortness of breath and limited cardiac capacity as the lungs’ oxygen uptake becomes less economical over time. Restricted blood flow within the lungs can also put further pressure on the respiratory system, especially the heart. Our operatives carry out asbestos removals in Kent and the southeast every day. No matter the size of the survey or likelihood of asbestos discovery, they always abide by the BOHS approved safety standards which include respirators, protective suits and strict handling processes.
Once you have been exposed to asbestos microfibers, they are near impossible to remove from your body. Even our own self-regulatory system which is apt at defending its self (flushing out toxins and healing wounds) can’t expel these foreign entities on account of their size and non-perishable structure. The inability to clear out what is perceived as a foreign entity (coupled with the physical scarring of lung tissue) puts the body under constant stress which contributes to cancer and other diseases.
Whether you are a builder, homeowner, facilities manager, or head of estates, asbestos can have potentially devastating impacts on anyone. There are still thousands of dormant asbestos fixtures in buildings all around the UK. All it takes is one tiny physical disturbance contaminate the area with these deadly fibres and you may not even be aware of the exposure until later in life when symptoms of Mesothelioma start to appear.
We urge you to stay on the side of caution and call us today for peace of mind. We have been providing asbestos removals in Kent for over a decade and are fully BOHS compliant. Call today or send us an enquiry.