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Asbestos Exposure In Buildings - Essay Example

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Asbestos is a pale-colored, fibrous mineral formation with a storied history. It is perhaps the fact that it was once so popular as a building material that colors our current sense of urgency regarding its toxicity. …
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Asbestos Exposure In Buildings
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Download file to see previous pages (Alleman & Mossman, 1997), (Competition Commission, 1975) prior to the 19th century asbestos boom, the mineral had a minor utility in household items, although Peter the Great did maintain a factory for the production of asbestos products. (Competition Commission, 1975) its use in construction during the 19th century was primarily limited to Chrysotile fibres intended for insulation purposes.


When people first meet Robert Hamilton, they would be forgiven for questioning whether this man is terminally ill. He has an amazing spirit, a lust for life and a great sense of humour. It is this positive attitude which helps Robert get through some of his darkest times since his diagnosis with mesothelioma in July 2006.

Mesothelioma is a terminal cancer of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos fibres.

Robert, of Polmont, Falkirk Central Region, worked as an assistant foreman at I.C.I. in Grangemouth for 28 years and although he didn't handle the asbestos himself, he was exposed to the fibres everyday in his work place during the maintenance and refurbishment works going on around him - the entire building and all the pipes were insulated with deadly asbestos.

A key part of Robert's job was directing maintenance workers throughout the I.C.I. building to where work was needed in repairing or replacing the asbestos cladding and lagging.
"When the boys put the lagging on, the dust would go everywhere. You could feel the dust in your throat and we used to go for a couple of pints after work to wash the dust out! "Nobody told us anything about asbestos. The staff were given different items of protective clothing for other chemicals that they worked with, but not for asbestos." Robert Hamilton, now aged 66 years, is supporting the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)'s national campaign "Asbestos - the Hidden Killer". The campaign aims to tackle the rising number of asbestos-related deaths by educating tradesmen about the risks they face. Any building built or refurbished before 2000 could contain asbestos. It is estimated that around 500,000 workplace buildings contain asbestos and many more domestic premises could contain it. The first symptom Robert experienced was a chesty cough which he presumed he had picked up through the air conditioning on holiday. The chest infection didn't clear and his GP went on to diagnose pneumonia and then TB, for which Robert received six months of treatment. "It took a year before I was correctly diagnosed with mesothelioma. On diagnosis they gave me six to nine months to live. It does knock the breathe out of you when you are diagnosed. "It takes a while to sink in, it's as if you are talking about someone else. A lot of crying goes on and asking 'Why me - what have I done to deserve it?' "Telling the family was devastating and my wife is very scared at being left on her own." Mesothelioma can take anywhere from 15 to 60 years before it becomes active and starts attacking the external lining of the lungs. The majority of sufferers die within one or two years of being diagnosed. Robert has lived with this debilitating disease for over three years now. There is no cure for mesothelioma - only treatment to alleviate the symptoms. He has endured three courses of chemotherapy, the latest being in March this year and he had major surgery to remove a lung; and has tried radium treatment. It took Robert a long time to recover from his surgery and during this time he has had a stroke and suffered from depression. Living daily with mesothelioma has had a huge effect on Robert's life he explained: "The life that you know is gone. I can't walk for more than 20 minutes and I easily ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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