Asbestos has been utilised in various applications for centuries, yet it was in the 20th century that its adverse effects on human health were widely recognised. Discovering these dangers resulted in the development of asbestos removal techniques and increasing awareness of the significance of appropriate abatement. Historiographically, this article will examine the evolution of asbestos removal.
Early Uses of Asbestos
Since ancient Greece and Rome, asbestos has been utilised. It was utilised to produce fire-resistant fabrics, insulating materials, and even as a component in building materials. Yet, widespread industrial use of asbestos began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This increased the incidence of asbestos-related disorders, generating concerns about the dangers of asbestos exposure.
Early Identification of Asbestos Dangers
In the early 1900s, medical specialists observed an alarming increase in asbestos workers with respiratory ailments. In 1906, British physician Dr H. Montague Murray was the first to record a case of asbestosis. Throughout the 1930s, accumulating data showed the connection between asbestos exposure and lung diseases. This discovery initiated the shift in perspective and the necessity for asbestos removal.
Asbestos Regulations Development
In the 1930s, the United States adopted its first asbestos exposure regulations. In the 1970s, however, strict rules were implemented. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the first asbestos-related regulations were established in 1971. The Clean Air Act of 1970, as amended in 1977 and 1990, was essential in limiting asbestos emissions and disposal.
The development of Asbestos Removal Methods
As awareness of the health concerns connected with asbestos exposure increased, so did the demand for efficient removal methods. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, substantial improvements were made to asbestos removal methods. The significant approaches established at this time were:
Wet removal methods: Wetting asbestos-containing materials limits asbestos fibre emission into the air.
Glove bag removal: A sealed containment system removes small parts of asbestos-containing materials, specifically pipe insulation.
Encapsulation: The process of enclosing asbestos-containing products in a protective barrier to prevent asbestos fibre release.
Modern Asbestos Abatement Industries
The asbestos removal industry has continued to develop due to regulatory changes, technological advances, and a greater understanding of the dangers of asbestos exposure. Modern asbestos removal techniques emphasise compliance with safety regulations and standards to protect employees and building inhabitants.
Today, asbestos removal companies use advanced procedures and technology, including HEPA-filtered vacuums, air monitoring systems, and specialised personal protective equipment. In addition to removal, the sector has evolved to offer asbestos management services that focus on finding, analysing, and managing asbestos-containing materials in buildings.
Understanding the health dangers connected with asbestos exposure has pushed the development of asbestos removal techniques. The result of regulatory, methodological, and technological developments over the past century is establishing a professional sector that prioritises safety and minimises the risk of asbestos exposure. As we learn more about asbestos and its impacts on human health, the asbestos removal industry will surely adapt to meet future challenges.