Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral and shows various useful properties such as thermal stability, thermal insulation, high tensile strength and chemical stability. Around 10 years ago, use of asbestos products was banned. In the year 2006, selling of asbestos sheets was banned under the law passed in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. It is believed that 70-80 percent of houses in Dubai contain asbestos products, especially the homes that were built before 2006. As per the Environmental Protection Agency, there are many products that contain asbestos. Asbestos is basically a fibrous silicate mineral that was widely used in hundreds of constructions including industrial, housing and commercial properties. There are millions of homes and offices in the United States that were made up of asbestos products. Talc products, home appliances, building materials and hair dryers are some of the examples of asbestos products.
There are a number of benefits of using asbestos products. Asbestos can be used for acoustic insulation, fire proofing, thermal insulation and in other building materials. Other than this, asbestos is useful in cement roofing, older products like stove-top pads, siding shingles, house insulation, in vinyl floor tiles, textured paint and others. Asbestos paper is useful for protecting floors and walls around the wood burning stoves. Asbestos products can also be used in artificial ashes as well as embers that are useful for gas-fired fireplaces. According to the National Safety Council, products containing asbestos can be found in the garage. It is because of the car parts such as clutches, brakes and other parts that were once built with products containing asbestos. For this reason, people who work in their own garage and fix their vehicles themselves may be in the risk of inhaling asbestos fibers.
One cannot determine by simply looking at the car parts such as clutch or brake components whether they contain asbestos or not. However, some of the car components or the vehicles may have labels to indicate that they contain asbestos. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration, mechanics should expect all the brakes to have shoes of asbestos type. Hence, they should use a wet cloth for removing the dust instead of blowing the dust out and it should be the right method of preventing the asbestos fibers to be airborne. The asbestos products were banned in the UAE due to various health risks associated with its usage. There is a risk of a disease called malignant mesothelioma with exposure to asbestos. This is an aggressive type of cancer that affect abdomen or linings of lungs. This type of cancer is known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. When a person inhales asbestos, it is not possible for the body to break it down and this asbestos present in the body then causes damaging of sensitive tissues. The damage of these tissues thus results in cancer or other disease related to asbestos. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this type of cancer and noticeably, around 3000 people in the US are diagnosed with this cancer type every year.
In the United Arab Emirates also, a number of families are probably affected with hazardous asbestos. Even though the use of asbestos is banned, there are still some workers found using asbestos products or not following asbestos removal regulations. This causes health risks to these workers and the residents as well. The tiny fibers when become airborne can penetrate into the lungs of people deeply. For this reason, removal of asbestos should be carried out by utilizing appropriate techniques that reduce the risk of fibres to become airborne. A specialist who is skilled and who has the knowledge of using the removal techniques should only be hired. He must be a trained asbestos removal contractor and should be aware of the control measures as well as the make use of appropriate respiratory protective equipments before trying to remove asbestos.