Asbestos is a substance that was once widely used by many different industries and in a wide range of applications. This included the building industry, where it was used in buildings as insulation and was also used in building products ranging from cement to floor and ceiling tiling. In the 1980s it was discovered that asbestos exposure could result in a range of health problems, including a form of cancer known as mesothelioma, and the laws relating to working with and removing asbestos have been getting more and more stringent since this time.
Asbestos related diseases come about as a result of exposure to airborne asbestos dust and fibers, which, in turn, result from asbestos being disturbed. Although asbestos is no longer used in buildings, it still exists in buildings that were erected prior to the 1980s. In many cases, such as if the building is to be renovated or demolished, the asbestos may need to be removed in order to ensure that the fibers do not become lose and airborne. This is known as asbestos abatement.
Asbestos removal has to be carried out following very strict guidelines as specified by the environmental agency, and those who are involved in asbestos removal must be properly trained and certified. Over the years, many people have been prosecuted for illegally removing asbestos or hiring contractors for asbestos removal who had no certification or expertise in the field, thus putting themselves, other people in the area, and the environment at risk.
Among the strict regulations relating to asbestos removal are that workers protect themselves with the necessary protective gear and masks, that the asbestos is wetted during removal to minimize airborne contamination, and that the asbestos be contained during removal and disposed of appropriately in line with asbestos legislation and regulations.
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