Online Asbestos Awareness
From afar, asbestos is perhaps one of the most useful minerals you will ever come across -well at least from an engineering perspective. Desirable properties like flexibility, durability, resistance to heat and corrosion, as well as an unmatched strength as a building material, made it a fan favorite in the building industry when it first made the headlines more than a century ago. However, not all that glitters is gold. Maybe that isn't the most apt description of such a dull mineral, but it's ironically true. It's fledgling popularity, coupled with widespread use, eventually triggered a health scare when it came to light that this 'gem' of a mineral wasn't the miraculous discovery as originally believed.
With the passage of time, asbestos wears and tears, simultaneously releasing tiny fibres which, when airborne and inhaled, can cause severe health complications. Mesothelioma, asbestiosis and lung cancer top the list of the most terminal incidences of long-term exposure. Sometimes it isn't the gradual process of disintegration that triggers the release of the highly toxic fibres. Demolitions too account for a significant portion of industry propellants. So not only is it important to be trained on how to assess risks in fully functional work environments, but more so in derelict ones as well. This article is one of the many initiatives to increase asbestos awareness online as not enough information is readily out there.
Dresden Declaration on the Protection of Workers against Asbestos, 2003
It was at the immediate behest of the "Dresden Declaration on the Protection of Workers against Asbestos" of the European Asbestos Conference 2003 that an outright ban on asbestos came to effect. Ever since that hallmark conference, European nations have been called upon to get rid of this toxic material as best they can. However, the removal process requires old building to be demolished, and that's where the real nightmare begins. Knowing the possible risks of serious exposure is therefore of paramount importance.
The Latency Period
Asbestos is a silent killer for the simple reason that it's harmful effects are only felt decades after exposure. You don't experience any recognisable symptoms like most disease causing agents, and that's not even the worst part. It is only several years after exposure that you will begin to experience health complications such as asbestiosis and mesothelioma, and at that stage, it cannot be treated. The risk is therefore far greater than one would ordinarily imagine.
Just A Tip Of The Iceberg
A further risk of environmental exposure lies in the erosion and weathering of the discarded asbestos after it's removal. So it isn't just enough to train on-site personnel on the immediate dangers of exposure. There is a perpetual need for post removal management training to protect the surrounding population as well.
Occupational hazards are in every working environment, there's just no running away from them. The extent of harm, however varying in extent from occupation to occupation, can be reduced with a little risk awareness. Being aware of potential risk factors goes a long way in protecting yourself and, more importantly, the passive community around you.