We don’t have to look far to find asbestos still causing devastation and disruption in today’s world. Here are a few that took less than two minutes to find with a quick Google search:
So, it was no wonder that the world expressed shock when on June 1st 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they would no longer survey asbestos in homes, schools, workplaces or other commercial environments in the US as a danger or health risk. Scott Pruitt, chief at EPA, made the announcement under President Trump who believes asbestos is “100% safe, once applied”. EPA also put forward a wire frame that will allow for the approval of ‘new uses’ of asbestos. ‘New uses’ meaning products that historically have not contained asbestos.
What most people don’t know however, is that the US still currently allows several materials and products to be manufactured, imported, processed and distributed throughout the country. This includes cement corrugated sheet, cement flat sheet, clothing, disk brake pads, roof coatings and much more. It’s also worth noting that in 2014, CNBC reported that asbestos is still pushed in India and business is booming with lowered import duties and the use of asbestos in construction of subsidized housing. Unfortunately, asbestos is still out there.
To a point, we agree with Trump’s statement; asbestos doesn’t usually cause any problems once it’s been applied and is left undisturbed. But that doesn’t mean every time you want to put a picture on the wall, drilling into your asbestos filled walls is safe. Or that whenever you have any work done on your home you’re not going to expose yourself, your family or your tradesmen to the deadly material. Asbestos is a killer if disturbed and would you really know how to identify asbestos if you came across it, or the common products it is used in?
We think EPA’s decision to rule out asbestos surveys is a bad one. There is enough reputable scientific research out there to suggest that asbestos can and does cause terminal illness, most of which are currently incurable. In the UK, we are still seeing asbestos related deaths in their thousands. Due to the use of asbestos ban in 1999, these numbers will eventually subside, but only if duty holders (landlords, keyholders, property managers e.t.c.) take their legal responsibility to provide a duty of care, and have an asbestos survey carried out if their buildings were built before 2000. It is not a legal requirement to have an asbestos survey done, but you must provide a duty of care to the people who use the building and especially those who work on the building.
To discuss giving your pre-2000’s property an asbestos survey, or talk about our asbestos training courses, get in touch today.