Facts and figures of asbestos

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Asbestos facts

Facts and figures of asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in various industries for its fire-resistant and insulating properties. In this blog post, we’ll explore ten key facts and figures about asbestos to shed light on its history and risks.

πŸ’‘ In the UK there is 6 types of asbestos found:  Chrysotile (white asbestos), Amosite (brown asbestos), Crocidolite (blue asbestos) are commonly found and Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthophyllite are rarely found.

πŸ’‘ It’s estimated an average of 13 people a day in the UK die from asbestos. More than double the number of people who die on the roads.

πŸ’‘Asbestos has been mined in more than 30 countries around the world, the main producers being Russia, China, India, Australia and Canada. (Many have since banned mining)

πŸ’‘ Mesothelioma is a type of cancer typically affects the lungs. It’s especially associated with exposure to asbestos fibres, though it can be years or even decades between first exposure and the cancer developing.

πŸ’‘ The UK banned the importation and use of Amosite and Crocidolite in 1985 (although voluntary industry bans had existed – for example, for Crocidolite from 1970), Actinolite, Anthophyllite and Tremolite in 1992 and chrysotile was finally banned in 1999.

πŸ’‘ Approximately 5000 people in the UK currently die each year from the result of asbestos exposure. This increases each year due to the exposure peaking around the 1970s/80s.

πŸ’‘ Some household products contained asbestos such as ovens, hair dryers, ironing boards, toasters etc. Even found in some cosmetic products to this day.

πŸ’‘ 75% of schools within the UK contain asbestos although some reports say the true figure is actually 86%.

πŸ’‘ Approximately 1.5 million properties within the UK still contain asbestos and 50% of homes could contain asbestos.

πŸ’‘ Russia, China, India, Brazil, Kazakhstan and others still mine and install thousands of tonnes of asbestos each year. Russia consuming around 650,000 tonnes each year alone.

πŸ’‘ Chrysotile asbestos has been used for over 2000 years used in burial cloths, oil lamp wicks and other textiles by the Romans and Greeks initially.

πŸ’‘ One of the most common types of asbestos, Chrysotile, was often used as artificial snow on film and TV sets. This was because it looked so alike to real snow that no modifications had to be made and there was no worry of it melting. It was such a popular product choice that it was often labelled as ‘White Snow Magic’ or ‘Snow Drift’ when sold. Wizard of Oz snow scene was a great example of this.

Asbestos facts and figures
Asbestos facts and figures
Asbestos facts and figures

These are just some facts regarding asbestos gathered from many sources, figures may change annually.

Asbestos facts and figures reveal the extent of the danger posed by this silent threat. Despite its declining use in many countries, the legacy of past asbestos exposure continues to affect the health of thousands. Recognizing the dangers, adhering to safety regulations, and advocating for a global ban on asbestos can help mitigate the risk and ensure a healthier future for generations to come. It’s essential that we continue to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos to prevent further loss of lives to this silent killer.

This is why safe asbestos surveys and removal need to be carried out with surprising numbers of buildings still containing asbestos and ill health caused by homeowners not having asbestos management carried out.


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