Asbestos is very widespread in France and in the world, in particular in building and industry because of its fire resistance, its chemical properties and its low cost. However, asbestos dust represents one of the first dangers from urban and industrial pollution ...
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber (a fire-resistant fibrous silicate) that has long been used as a thermal, acoustic and electrical insulator in homes and industry. Asbestos cement, often called asbestos cement, is a material in which asbestos is used as a structuring agent mixed with cement. The fiber cement manufactured before 1991 and which is found a lot in roofs, pipes and flower boxes, in particular, very often contains asbestos. Asbestos has been banned in France since 1997.
The dangers of asbestos
Asbestos and its industrial derivatives represent a real health hazard, which manifests itself when asbestos ages. Its degradation produces fibers which spread in the air and easily enter the body by breathing. Asbestos particles, especially when they are less than 3 microns, can create disorders in the body. Some are mild (pleural plaques, pleural fibrosis, etc.), others can be very serious (respiratory failure, mesothelioma, bronchopulmonary cancers, etc.). The disease can appear twenty to forty years after contamination.
How do I know if I have asbestos at home?
Asbestos is generally found in thermal insulation, flocking and false ceilings. To establish whether or not asbestos is present, a diagnosis must be made by a professional. If this diagnosis reveals the presence of asbestos, you must have the condition of the materials checked by a construction technician and take the appropriate measures: elimination, periodic checks, monitoring of dust, etc.
The asbestos diagnosis is compulsory for all dwellings for which the building permit was issued before July 1, 1997. For certificates dating before August 22, 2002, the asbestos diagnosis must be repeated (because the law has been modified) and its period of validity is unlimited. Individual houses are only affected by a "complete asbestos diagnosis" in the event of a sale, which results in a finding of the presence or absence of asbestos. Before their demolition, an exhaustive diagnosis is required. For the apartments, an asbestos diagnosis had to be carried out before December 31, 1999, by an identification leading to a report of presence or absence of asbestos in the event of sale, and by an exhaustive diagnosis before demolition.
Where to learn about asbestos?
Metals, alcohols, hydrocarbons, asbestos, mercury… around a hundred of these toxic substances are listed in a database created by INRS, the National Institute for Research and Security. To know more www.amiante.inrs.fr