We’ve all heard of asbestos via the news, friends and family and information from the HSE and we know how it can quickly mean a building is branded unsafe for human use and will need fixing swiftly, we’ve also heard stories about the negative impact on the health of the population asbestos has. Companies like Asbestos Sampling make this process accessible for all.

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But, what exactly is asbestos, and why is it so important to have access to a testing kit? 

Well for a start anyone can find asbestos in their property, it was widely used in building materials right up until 1999.  Easily mined, easily accessible, and low cost it seemed like a great option at the time. And, there are many buildings that contain this harmful material, from office blocks to homes, right down to public toilets too! It’s quiet, not easily spotted, and the damage it can cause can be catastrophic.

 Asbestos is, in short, a naturally occurring mineral in its raw form, it can be found in various mines around the world, and it seemed like the perfect material to use when it was first discovered, so it quickly became a firm favourite in building and DIY jobs. 

Unfortunately, as with lots of things, we learnt over time that the tiny particles found in asbestos can cause some devastating health problems to everyone that comes into contact with it, and now we know better, we can do better when it comes to how we handle this material. Asbestos used to also be found in some other products, not just building materials, one of these items is talcum powder, which is why the health problems extend further than just the lungs. 

Some of the health problems caused by asbestos are- 

  • Mesothelioma, 
  • pleural and peritoneal Lung cancer, 
  • Ovarian cancer, 
  • Laryngeal cancer, 
  • Pharyngeal cancer, 
  • Stomach cancer, 
  • Colon cancer, 
  • Hyaline pleural plaque, 
  • Pleural thickening & Pleural effusion, 
  • Atelectasis, 
  • Peritoneal effusion and Pericardial effusion. 

Each of these can cause devastation to any family, and of course, cancer is a huge concern for anyone. Many people have died from the effects of asbestos, and it’s not something that can be taken lightly. 

Once it had been thoroughly researched and discovered that asbestos can and does cause health problems, rightly so many people became a lot more cautious when working on their homes. But over time property developers, homeowners, contractors and builders have searched for an easier option to discover if their property is hiding a world of trouble under the surface. Employing someone to come into a property and take samples to be tested can be costly and time-consuming. 

This is why testing kits have become a hugely valuable tool, not only in a builder’s toolkit but also to many other people that need to put their minds at rest before starting any work on the walls of their project. 

Aside from the obvious health risks to a person that comes into contact with asbestos, it’s essential to consider the various other problems that arise when discovering asbestos (or suspected asbestos), such as loss of earnings if the building cannot be used during the time it is being fixed, the cost of safe removal, the time and effort this takes and the knock-on effect this could potentially have, and not to mention the fact that a home can be uninhabitable while asbestos is being removed is a considerable inconvenience and expense to a family. 

So the option to carry out a test quickly and easily is a huge benefit to everyone, this reduces costs because there is usually less downtime on a project, no need for expensive surveys and greatly improves productivity. 

It means that people who may not have otherwise been able to afford a test on their property now have access to important information, and knowledge is power after all. It also means that more people are safe from the debilitating and dangerous health problems mentioned above, which are, of course, huge positives. 

So in the interest of public safety, time and financial losses asbestos testing kits are a huge step forward in the fight against this dangerous material, eventually it would be ideal if all buildings were completely safe from it, and since it’s been banned in the UK since 1999 there should be no extra material to find now, but as it stands the next best thing is to have access to a quick and low-cost option of discovering it in the first place, and that’s precisely what these kits provide and why they are such a valuable tool.