By the end of the course you will be able to:• Identify the 3 main types of asbestos
• Identify the diseases caused by exposure to asbestos
• Understand the increased risk for smokers
• Identify some of the likely uses and locations for asbestos products in buildings
• Know how to avoid the risks from asbestos
• Explain the general emergency procedures should asbestos be discovered / disturbed
ASBESTOS is a Naturally occurring material
3 main types:
◦ Chrysotile – White
◦ Crocidolite – Blue
◦ You can’t identify the different types just from colour, as many Asbestos fibres are embedded in other substances
2 types of structure
◦ Serpentine – White is like a coarse cotton wool, or fluffy fibreglass, water loving and most commonly used.
◦ Amphiboles – Brown and Blue long thin fibres, water hating 3
◦ High tensile strength
◦ Very Good chemical, electrical and heat resistance
◦ Resistant to acids
◦ Virtually indestructible
The general use of asbestos is now banned.
◦ Blue and Brown asbestos banned in 1985
◦ White was banned in 1999
The Ancient Greeks used asbestos for wicks in lamps (they never burnt away) – the name means inextinguishable
The Greeks did note a ‘sickness in the lungs’ of slaves who wove asbestos into cloth
The Romans used asbestos cloth napkins, which were cleaned by throwing them into the fire.
‘PPE you say…
Well there’s a thong or a loin cloth, which one do you want?’
Deposits of asbestos are found throughout the world
Russia (largest producer), Canada, South Africa,
China still mine it!
Asbestos is extracted by open cast mining. It is crushed, processed and refined into a wool like fibrous mass During the 1950s – 1980s, hundreds of building products contained asbestos
Asbestos cement products were still in use until 1999
Use of asbestos products peaked in the Sixties and early Seventies
All types of asbestos are classed as carcinogens.
◦ There is no guaranteed safe exposure limit
Asbestos related diseases can take 15 – 60 years to develop following exposure to fibres
The risk of adverse effects is much higher for smokers
People with Asthma /genetic dispositions towards weaker lung conditions could be affected by much lower levels of fibres.
Occupational Asthma/ other conditions - your lungs are made permanently ultra sensitive to any dust/ fibres from past repeated exposure.
Asbestos fibres break down splitting lengthways, creating far thinner fibres each time they split
Inhalation of fibres causes the most problems
◦ The sharp micro fibres become lodged in lung tissue, can’t be removed, and these scar the lung tissue.
If swallowed asbestos can cause cancer in the bowels
◦ A damaged Old Asbestos water tank, a water shortage - who gets the last cup of water?!
Asbestos fibres cannot be absorbed through the skin, by contact, settlement of dust or by rubbing off dust with your hands A fall on a shard of Asbestos could see fibres piercing the skin into an injury area
Asbestos fibres can irritate the eyes, could become lodged in the soft tissue of your tear ducts, etc… (wear glasses)
ASBESTOS and SMOKERS
Normal lung function:
The hairs (cilia) in the throat and Trachea lift food, dust, and phlegm up from the lungs 24/7 for us.
It takes 24 hours for the hairs to move a piece of food debris back up to the throat, for us to cough it out or swallow it.
Our immune system uses white blood cells to seek out an destroy the Asbestos fibres, swallowing them and taking them away from irritated areas of our lungs. 9
Smoking paralyses the tiny hairs in the throat and down into the lung structure, eventually smoke kills these hairs.
Smokers no longer have an automatic back up system to remove all the rubbish from building up in their lungs
Smokers lungs become desensitise to smoke & particles, the immune system doesn’t send