Although asbestos was used for a long time as a building material, it is now banned on the UK market. Any building site containing asbestos must now have it removed by a professional before further construction can begin. As such, the removal of asbestos is big business. If you’re looking to set up a company in the environmental health sector, or if you’re searching for a practical career path to specialse in, then asbestos surveying and removal could be a great option for you.
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos was incredibly popular as a building material, used extensively in the UK from the early 1900s onwards as a result of the incredibly durable nature of its fibres, which are able to resist fire and the majority of chemical reactions. This made it a seemingly perfect material for industrial and commercial building projects, and resultantly it can still be found in many older buildings, especially in aspects such as fireproofing and insulation. It was finally banned in the UK in 1999, long after it was outlawed in many other countries, and has since been being gradually removed wherever it is found. Its prevalence means that jobs in asbestos removal are abundant, making this a great career or business option.
Why Is It Banned?
The microscopic fibres that make up asbestos are prone to becoming airborne, whereby they can be inhaled by humans. Their particular shape allows them to cling to internal tissues, which over a long period of time can lead to inflammation and a number of worrying health issues. Asbestosis refers to a condition involving the scar tissue which results from these fibres clinging to the lining of the lungs, resulting in a degenerative respiratory condition. The most concerning aspect is the ability of this condition to lead to a rare cancer called mesothelioma, which can develop in the heart, lungs or abdomen with deadly effects. This cancer has been found to have no other cause than exposure to asbestos. Furthermore, asbestos can contribute to the development of lung cancer. More people in the UK die yearly from asbestos related disease than any other work-related illness, making it clear to see why asbestos removal is high on the government’s priority list.
Working in Asbestos
There are now many rules and regulations to limit the harmful effects of asbestos and to create safer living and working conditions for people in the UK. Professional asbestos surveyors, removers and disposal experts are an essential part of this process, and are often brought onsite where older buildings are being demolished or renovated. This work is challenging and requires specialist equipment and knowledge. If the asbestos materials are in good condition and are going to remain completely undisturbed, then it may be appropriate to leave them be, but in the majority of cases a complete removal and disposal is preferable. An expert opinion will rely on the regulations and guidance of the government to assess the safety of any given situation.
Asbestos is a deadly product, and as a result its removal is an important business. This essential task can be lifesaving, and as such makes for a fulfilling career option.