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What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring minerals used in certain products, such as building materials and vehicle brakes, to resist heat and corrosion. Asbestos includes chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, actinolite and any of these materials that have been chemically treated or altered.


What are the dangers?

The inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause serious diseases of the lungs and that may not appear until years after the exposure has occurred. For instance, asbestosis causes a build-up of scar-like tissue in the lungs resulting in a loss of lung function that progresses to disability then death.
There are four main diseases caused by asbestos:
mesothelioma (which is always fatal), lung cancer (almost always fatal), asbestosis (not always fatal, but it can be very debilitating) and diffuse pleural thickening (not fatal).


Asbestos and the law?

Because of the risks of working with asbestos, there are a number of sets of regulations which place requirements on 'dutyholders’ – employers and the self-employed. These cover working with all types of asbestos-containing material. A quick summary of these regulations can be found in the asbestos regulations 2001 Download here

Where can you find it?

Asbestos was extensively used as a building material in South Africa from the 1940s through to the mid-1980s. It was used for a variety of purposes and was ideal for fireproofing and insulation. Any building built before 2000 (houses, factories,

offices, schools, hospitals etc.) can contain asbestos. Asbestos materials in good condition are safe unless asbestos fibres become airborne, which happens when materials are damaged or moved.

How do I removed it and comply with the Law?

As you now are aware of the dangers of Asbestos, you would need a certified registered Asbestos removal contractor to remove the Asbestos in accordance with the laws set out in article 2001

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