Asbestos Part 3: The Past Present and Future


At our last meeting we took a walk through the Roman empire,delved into the minds of the Assyrians and took ourselves up all the way to the Victorian age. Where the concept of health and safety was a non sequitur. On the heels of Remembrance Day we will speak about the use of asbestos during WW1 and WW2 and the period betwixt them.

In 1914, WW1 began to see the Allied forces and the Central powers fight what at the time was termed the war to end all wars. There over 60 million Euopeans killed during the war, but the amount of deaths due to asbestos will take the cake. It wasn’t as simple as bullets raining down upon the heads of the allies, asbestos was a stealthy killer.

It is estimated that over 10,000 people a year died in between the first and second world wars due to asbestos. In the US, the production and usage of asbestos was at its peak before the First World war and fortunately the war stopped the production in order to assist the allies in production of other goods.

However, the 1920’s and the 1930’s saw a rise in asbestos production especially in the garment, jewellery and finery arenas. Across the US and UK the respite in between the two world wars proved an excellent time for the use of asbestos to flourish. The element was added to jewelry to add a certain enigmatic quality, it was added to the coats of fireman, policeman and military personnel to enhance fire retardness, which for all intensive purposes asbestos is near unbeatable at keeping away the flames.

And bizarrely it was added to gas masks during the beginning of WW2 for insulation. However, having had protection against nerve agents; but they were unknowingly ingesting asbestos. Which may not have been an instant death but instead a slow agonising one that will go in for years and until the 1970’s will be misdiagnosed. The war brought serious changes to the world stage, the fall of nations and birth of freedom unknown to the masses. However, asbestos would slip through the cracks until the 1950’s were it became layman’s knowledge that it was ‘’hazardous to health’’ in the US and the UK followed shortly.

If you have asbestos in your home or business give us a call on 0333 222 9945, we won’t leave you stuck in the past. We will complete an asbestos survey and ensure your asbestos is removed and disposed of properly.


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