What has asbestos been used for?

Asbestos has been employed in lots of applications and merchandise. The ancient Greeks wove it into oil lamp wicks, funeral shrouds and ceremonial tablecloths. It insulated the new engines, boilers and piping that powered the Industrial Revolution.

For half a century, till the Nineteen Eighties, asbestos was utilized in workplace buildings, public buildings and faculties. It insulated hot water heating systems, and was put into walls and ceilings as insulation against hearth and sound.

Asbestos has additionally been widely employed in transportation and electrical appliances, frequently mixed with, and encased in, different materials.

Asbestos has also been found in several product around the house. It’s been employed in clapboard; shingles and felt for roofing; exterior siding; pipe and boiler covering; compounds and cement, like caulk, putty, roof patching, furnace cement and driveway coating; wallboard; textured and latex paints; acoustical ceiling tiles and plaster; vinyl floor tiles; appliance wiring; hair dryers; irons and ironing board pads; flame-resistant aprons and electric blankets; and clay pottery.

How has the employment of asbestos changed?

When it became evident that regular exposure to asbestos on the job concerned health risks, the general public became a lot of concerned regarding exposure to asbestos in offices and colleges, and, eventually, about all asbestos product.

This concern has led to a dramatic decline in asbestos use since the first Eighties. The use of asbestos insulation in buildings and heating systems has virtually disappeared. Residential use, for roofing, flooring and appliances, continues to decrease.

Whereas various merchandise are being developed to switch asbestos, products sold nowadays containing asbestos are regulated underneath the Hazardous Product Act. Asbestos will be used safely, and public concern has led to improved product style and manufacture. Asbestos is currently higher encapsulated and sealed to cut back the escape of fibres.

Asbestos is effective in several applications as a result of it’s been tough to find comparable substitute materials. For example, it is still an necessary part of brake lining and clutch facings.

What health issues are associated with exposure to asbestos?

Health Canada states that the asbestos content of a product does not indicate its health risk.

Asbestos poses health risks solely when fibres are within the air that people breathe. Asbestos fibres lodge within the lungs, inflicting scarring that can ultimately cause severely impaired lung operate (asbestosis) and cancers of the lungs or lung cavity.

Concern for the health of asbestos workers was expressed as long ago. The risks became more evident within the late Sixties, when employees who had been heavily exposed twenty to 30 years earlier showed increased incidence of lung disease. Occupational exposure is currently strictly regulated by provincial governments.

When will asbestos be a problem in the house?

Today, so much fewer products in the home contain asbestos. Current products that do contain the material are better created to stand up to wear and use.

However, frequent or prolonged exposure to asbestos fibres may still bring health risks. This will happen with the release of fibres into the air when asbestos-containing merchandise break down, either through deterioration as they age or when they are cut. Individuals can put themselves in danger — typically while not realizing it — if they do not take proper precautions when repairs or renovations disturb asbestoscontaining materials. This can occur in a very number of situations:

Disturbing loose-fill vermiculite insulation which might contain asbestos

Removing deteriorating roofing shingles and siding containing asbestos, or tampering with roofing felt that contains asbestos

Ripping away previous asbestos insulation from around a hot water tank

Sanding or scraping vinyl asbestos floor tiles

Breaking apart acoustical ceilings tiles containing asbestos

Sanding plaster containing asbestos, or sanding or disturbing acoustical plaster that gives ceilings and walls a soft, textured look

Sanding or scraping older water-based mostly asbestos coatings such as roofing compounds, spackling, sealants, paint, putty, caulking or drywall

Sawing, drilling or smoothing rough edges of latest or old asbestos materials

How to attenuate the asbestos risks in the house?

If you do not know if merchandise in your home contain asbestos, have an experienced contractor inspect them. If there’s asbestos, the simplest interim live (unless the product is peeling or deteriorating) is to seal the surface briefly so that fibres can not be released into indoor air. If the product is already protected or isolated, merely leave it alone.

It is a advanced and expensive matter to get rid of asbestos, and should be done by an experienced contractor. When disturbing an asbestos product, maximum precautions should be taken to safeguard the staff and anybody else who could be nearby. Asbestos dirt should remain at intervals the work space therefore that it cannot be breathed in by unprotected persons.

It’s essential to require adequate precautions. Everybody who works with asbestos ought to continually wear an approved face mask and gloves, together with protective clothing. Be sure to tape sleeve and trouser cuffs, and wash garments separately when use. Keep the work area moist to stay mud and fibre particles from floating into the air. Isolate the work space.

Cut back the air pressure to forestall asbestos fibres from escaping from the work space, and filter the exhaust air. Dispose of all waste appropriately, according to the rules of your provincial department of the setting. Different removal strategies might be warranted for special conditions — consult an professional.

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