Asbestos refers to a group of six minerals that occur naturally in nature. Asbestos minerals are composed of extremely fine, durable fibres that are resistant to many chemicals, fire and heat. Historically, asbestos has been used for a wide array of purposes, including as a building material, fireproof gear, etc. and was hailed a “miracle mineral” for many years. Today, however, asbestos is known to cause fatal lung cancer (known as mesothelioma), asbestosis as well as other lung related illnesses.
All six kinds of asbestos minerals have certain characteristics in common. Asbestos minerals are always tasteless and odourless and can therefore not be easily detected in a product, unless it is tested in a laboratory. The difficulty in detection makes asbestos especially dangerous as people can be exposed to it without realising the risks involved.
Because asbestos fibres are microscopic, it is readily inhaled, and that is where the problem starts. As soon as the fibres are inhaled, it clings to the respiratory system, especially the lining of the lungs. Asbestos fibres are also relatively rigid in nature and it can therefore become easily lodged in the respiratory system’s soft inner tissues. Once these fibres become lodged, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for it to get broken down by, or expelled from the body.
No level of asbestos exposure is safe, and nearly all people who have a history of exposure to asbestos run the risk of developing serious respiratory health conditions such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.
In South Africa, our asbestos regulations legislate the handling and disposal thereof. This law covers aspects of operational procedures, including the following:
• Preparation of work area
• Asbestos air-borne and dust control
• Personal protective clothing and equipment
• Clean-up of work area and waste removal
In compliance with the law, asbestos removal, restoration or repair projects can only be carried out by a registered asbestos contractor.
Wilcote Cape Town North is certified by the South African Department of Labour to carry out any asbestos removal, restoration or repair projects. Our staff have been trained and certified in accordance with the South African Labour Department’s requirements for safely handling asbestos.
In association with our global suppliers, we have designed and developed unique, environmental- and eco-friendly products to help us to safely remove, repair or restore asbestos structures such as an asbestos roof or ceiling. Our solutions offer customers a non-invasive, cost effective and safe method for handling and disposing of asbestos.
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