Nichol Associates

Nichol Associates

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Recent deluge could open the floodgates on Asbestos risk

The recent floods that have devastated many parts of the UK could have unexpected consequences by increasing the risk of asbestos exposure. I urge readers engaging in the cleanup process to be vigilant against the presence of this killer substance.

Natural disasters mean misery for millions and 150 properties were flooded in Surrey and Kent alone. While asbestos is not normally harmful unless disturbed, flood waters can damage the integrity of buildings, exposing asbestos contaminated flooring, walls and ceilings, breaking down any asbestos present into fine fibres and bringing this dangerous material to the surface.

Some asbestos fibres are waterproof and can sit on the surface of water, risking being inhaled once they dry out and posing a serious health hazard. The advice to homeowners of damaged properties is to use caution when cleaning or searching through debris and if asbestos is suspected, take no chances. Call in a professional contractor trained and qualified in the safe removal of asbestos.

Asbestos related diseases can take 20 years to develop and there is no cure. Over 4,500 people still die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres in the UK and asbestos remains the biggest single cause of work related deaths in the UK.

Buildings can be rebuilt and repaired but people diagnosed with asbestos related diseases have no such options. Greater asbestos awareness will help ensure the drama of the floods does not become a health crisis in the long term and hopefully a happier New Year for those affected.

David Nichol
Managing Director of Nichol Associates

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