Asbestos is a type of natural mineral, and its strong pressed fibres form a very durable material. Its strength makes it ideal for insulation (also fire retardant) and many other uses. Unfortunately, asbestos also poses a serious health risk since thin filaments dissipate in the air enter the lungs causing scars inside (mesothelioma) and tumour.
Asbestos fibres are particularly small and feature the ability to divide longitudinally into even smaller fibres. In a linear cm, you can have about 250 human hairs, 1300 nylon fibres and 335,000 asbestos fibres. Fibers of less than 3-4 μm size can penetrate deep into the respiratory system. As already mentioned, the two mineralogical series in which asbestos is divided are the Serpentine (Chrysotile) and the Amphibole. The first has the corrugated fibre of order size of 0.75 1.50 μm, the second has needle fibres of dimensions 1.50-4.00 μm and is because of its more dangerous and easily penetrable structure in our body. Asbestos resistance to acids and, in general, to physical and chemical agents, which has made them appreciate technological skills, Is also the cause of the asbestos hazard. In fact, unlike other microscopic fibres, asbestos fibres are bio resistant and, once inhaled, remain in the respiratory system for years without our immune system eliminating them.
Recommended examination to those who have been exposed to asbestos
the health supervision of workers exposed to asbestos, some specific tests are more often included in the proposed health care for former exposed.
In particular, reference is made to:
- Simple medical examination and spirometry, repeated on an annual or bi-annual basis;
- Capillary alveolar diffusion test;
- Research of siderocytes and corpuscles of asbestos in the spectacle;
- Specialist Otorhinolaryngology Visit; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otorhinolaryngology
- Chest radiography;
- TC chest.
Referring specifically to mesothelioma, it is suggested for the workers to take a magnetic resonance imaging, biopsy and measurement of osteopontin and SMRP levels in the blood through a simple withdrawal.
The first thing the employer is doing to assess the “asbestos risk” at the workplace is the mapping of materials that is, the definition of the types of materials that contain asbestos, their planimetric position, their state of conservation and therefore the degree of danger. In the case of materials for which there is doubt about the presence of asbestos, laboratory analyses may be carried out.
How to Test for Asbestos
- Determines when the building was built. Asbestos (asbestos) has been widely used since 1930 and 1989. Since 2003, in Australia, it is forbidden to use for any kind of purpose. Asbestos is commonly found in buildings, but also in gas stoves, in hair dryers, in some clothes, and in car brakes.
- Wear suitable clothing and gloves: gloves, boots, old clothes that will be disposed of after their exposure to asbestos, a mask with HEPA filter.
- Stop every air conditioner, any fan or air circulation system that could spread asbestos fibres.
- Seal the area; Not allowing anyone to be contaminated while collecting specimens.
- Strips the plastic sheets under the area from which samples will be taken, use adhesive tape to fasten the sheets.
- Sprink the area from which you take the samples with water to avoid spreading the fibres.
- Practice engraving in the material to take pieces of fibres.
- Took a small sample of material that could be or contain asbestos. Be very cautious. Put the sample in sealed and labelled containers to know when and where the material was taken.
- Seal the area from where the fibres were taken with a plastic towel, plasterboard or adhesive tape to prevent the spread of suspect fibres.
- Take off the protections gears and clothes, put them in a plastic bag, seal it, put it in a second bag, and seal it tightly. Do the same with the plastic sheets laid on the floor.
- Contact a qualified laboratory nearest to the area to analyse the sample and at the same time prepare the necessary documentation to initiate asbestos removal procedures. If you have taken the sample yourself, you must turn to a certified laboratory for analysis and also deliver the caps you have worn during operations to dispose of it. However, it would be wise to leave the sampling process to the expert as well.
Things needed for a sampling process
- Protective gloves
- Old clothes that can be disposed of
- HEPA Filter Mask
- Large sealed bags
- Sealable container for sample of suspect material such as a glass jar with hermetic cap
- A large roll of insulating tape
- Plastic covers to protect the floor beneath the pickup area
- Spray bottle full of water and a few drops of detergent
- Sharp tools like a saw or cutter
In conclusion, it is important to emphasise that asbestos exposure poses concrete risks to our health and that the consequences can emerge even after many years. So, regardless of regional disparities, it is important to protect your health by taking an asbestos testing as part of the preliminary protection of asbestos exposure.
For more information about asbestos you can visit our site https://www.asbestoswatch.com.au/