A dangerous material that can be extremely damaging to human health, asbestos was completed banned in the UK twenty years ago in 1999. And yet, asbestos is still considered in a major health risk to people today. In fact, it is responsible for more than 5,000 deaths every single year. How can a banned substance be causing so much trouble?

Banned but not removed

It is a common misunderstanding about asbestos to believe that the material was also removed when it was banned. While 1999 was the last year that asbestos could be bought or used in the UK, the material was previously an extremely popular substance with a wide variety of uses in construction and other industries. This means that if a property was built before 1999 then there is a chance that it contains asbestos.

Where can asbestos be found?

Through the 1970s and 1980s asbestos was an extremely popular product, and it had a wide range of uses. For example, you can find it used directly as a type of insulation, and additionally as a part of products such concrete, tiles and spray coatings. But with a scientific consensus being formed over the dangers of asbestos, it had to be banned eventually, as the material was responsible for thousands of premature deaths.

When is asbestos dangerous?

It is incorrect to assume that the presence of asbestos means that you are in danger. In fact, asbestos is only usually a hazard to human health if its condition deteriorates or if it disturbed. It is only when fibres are released and can be breathed in that asbestos can cause damage to humans. However, once asbestos fibres get inside the lungs, they are almost impossible to remove.

What are risks associated with asbestos?

There are a number of diseases that are associated with asbestos exposure, including:

  • Asbestosis – a respiratory condition that can be fatal
  • Mesothelioma – a rare form of cancer in the lining of the lungs. This condition is almost always caused by asbestos exposure
  • Lung cancer – when someone has been exposed to asbestos, they are more likely to develop lung cancer than those who haven’t

If you aren’t sure whether or not you have an asbestos in your property, it is necessary to have an asbestos survey carried out.