Everything you need to know about asbestos
Asbestos is a commonly used chemical in the industry. It is banned in some countries where it is still used in some.
Asbestos is a natural material which has some amazing properties such as corrosion, heat and electricity resistant and very flexible. However, it is also highly toxic and hazardous. It is an excellent insulator which can be used in making paper cement etc. asbestos should be handled with utmost care because they can get trapped inside the body. This can also cause inflammation to the human body. In the worst-case scenario, it can also lead to cancer. They are very tiny and small which makes it even more dangerous.
Where does asbestos come from?
The major portion of asbestos comes from Russia, China, Brazil and Kazakhstan exactly in that order. There are other countries as well such as India and Indonesia which imports asbestos in relatively small amounts.
It’s obvious that these countries themselves use asbestos in various industries. Apart from them, the United States and Asian countries have consistent uses of this chemical. Countries like Iceland, Japan and Australia have banned the usage in any form due to its adverse health effects.
Why use asbestos in industries?
Use of asbestos in industries:
As asbestos is a high strength mineral fiber that can withstand high pressure, high temperatures, and corrosion and is a very good insulator it was widely used in the industry in the 1980s. Here are some of the products in which asbestos was being used:
- Automotive parts:
Due to asbestos fire-resistant and high strength qualities, it was used in the automotive industry like in pumps, clutches, turbines, valves, brake pads, gaskets, asbestos brakes and for insulation.
Asbestos was being commonly used for Floor, ceiling and roof tiles but lately due to its harmful effects on the human body it has been replaced with clay and plastics.
- Electrical Equipment
As asbestos is a bad conductor of electricity and resistant to fire and heat, it was being used in electrical applications. Most of the electrical equipment containing asbestos was largely banned by around 1980.
Due to the strength and durability qualities of asbestos, it has been extensively used for the cement in building material. Its fibers provide much more strength than any other material and are less in weight. The added advantage was its insulation and fire resistance quality making it ideal for building material.
Asbestos was used in textile industry for the production of garments due to its heat resistance and corrosive elements. It was used in firefighting clothes to keep firefighter safe from the fire. The textile products included blankets, ropes and firefighter suits.
Asbestos Exposure Risks:
Asbestos exposure is very injurious to health and has bad effects on the human body. With each exposure of asbestos, the cellular damage increase and there is no way to reverse it. Asbestos exposed is mostly common in a workplace environment, but military and homes even fall victim of its exposure. There are a number of disease-related to asbestos that includes plaques, lung cancer and asbestos. Workplace exposure of asbestos is the main reason behind asbestos diseases and there has to be some workplace monitoring in order to keep a safe and secure environment for the workers.
Are Asbestos-Containing Products Banned?
As soon as the discovery of harmful effects of asbestos, American manufacturers removed asbestos from their products during the 1980s. The U.S, however, has not banned the products containing asbestos completely as some are still functional. For the use of these products, there has to be workplace monitoring and the company need asbestos clearance from the concerned department. Without regularity review, they are not allowed to use. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Product Safety Commission have banned several products of asbestos.
How to get a certificate for asbestos products?
To ensure that asbestos is not harming the environment, environmental departments conduct workplace monitoring and inspections of the product. The environmental department makes sure to provide a risk assessment of asbestos product as well as recommendations for the safety and security of the environment and the workers. They also provide services of air monitoring of the asbestos product workplace and provide an asbestos clearance certificate to fulfil safety regulations. The asbestos clearance certification and inspection is a must requirement under the Workplace Health & Safety Regulations as it ensures that all the asbestos fragments have been removed from the site that contains asbestos and there is no health risk involved now.