Asbestos and Lung Cancer (Part Two)

As many as twenty tradespeople one week could be drying from damage caused by the exposure to asbestos, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) claims.

Even though asbestos has been now banned, people that work in the construction industries, demolition or maintenance could still get the exposure to asbestos dust, which puts their health in danger. The exposure to asbestos is a risk, be it tradespeople working on industrial or domestic premises.

The HSE estimates that tradespeople might encounter asbestos one hundred times per year. It has launched the campaign of “Beware Asbestos”, which aims to trigger the escalated number of asbestos-caused deaths. Diseases which are caused by the contact with the exposure to asbestos include mesothelioma, which is a type of cancer affecting the membrane around the lung and asbestos-caused lung cancer.

A lot of asbestos caused deaths occur among tradespeople, such as builders, electricians, plumbers and plasterers, or individuals that work in construction industries like insulation or shipbuilding. The death rate among this particular group is found to increase every single year. It may take twenty to fifty years for mesothelioma or lung cancer to develop, so it is generally diagnosed when the disease has already reached its advance stage. Those who work in construction decades ago may also develop mesothelioma when they get older.

There is no sound link between smoking and lung cancer, yet smokers that also have been exposed to asbestos have a greater risk of lung cancer as well as mesothelioma than do smokers who haven’t.

The asbestos risk

In accordance with the HSE, a lot of workers, particularly tradespeople, think that they are not at risk, since asbestos was banned a number of years ago. But, as asbestos remains in various buildings, it is still a risk to workers, even these days.

Asbestos is likely to be present in various buildings that are constructed or refurbished prior to the year 2000. An estimated half a million constructed buildings contain asbestos. If a building which contains asbestos is renovated or maintained and the asbestos fibers get disturbed, for example, by cutting or drilling, they can easily be ingested or inhaled as a dangerous dust. Steve Coldrick, the director of HSE’s Disease Reduction Programme, claimed that we needed to educate tradespeople about how this hazardous fiber and its dangers are relevant to them. We wanted them to change the way they usually worked so that they would not put their lives at risks anymore.

Protecting Yourself from Asbestos

You can actually find out more on the HSE websites on asbestos, where you can also get free asbestos web application so as to help tradespeople identify where they can get the exposure to asbestos in their daily work. HSE recommends the following advices to those who may be exposed to asbestos.

Where the fibers are present, you can continue to work if you have had asbestos training and you are using the right equipment.

To reduce the asbestos dust, you need to use hand tools rather than power tools, and also keep the materials damp, yet not entirely wet.

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