What Year Was Blue Asbestos Banned in the UK?

Blue asbestos, also known as crocidolite, was once widely used in many industries. It was predominately applied in the construction and building sectors, although it was also used in the automobile, textile, and plumbing industries.

However, the importation, manufacture and new use of crocidolite were banned in the UK in 1985. Similarly, amosite (brown asbestos) was also banned at this time. Despite being strong, durable, heat resistant, and low-cost, the health risks associated with blue and brown asbestos made it too dangerous to be used. As a result, the government was compelled to prohibit its continued application.

Why Is Blue Asbestos Dangerous?

All types of asbestos are dangerous but blue asbestos is particularly harmful. This is because it consists of short, sharp fibres which are capable of penetrating through the body’s soft tissues. In addition to this, the properties of blue asbestos fibres make them very hard to breathe out, which means the body is unable to expel them once they are present in the lungs.

What Health Risks Are Associated with Crocidolite?

Like all types of asbestos, crocidolite can cause a variety of health problems. If large quantities of the fibres are inhaled over time, for example, it can cause asbestosis to develop. This presents as scarring of the lungs and may cause respiratory difficulties, such as coughing and wheezing, as well as chest and/or shoulder pain.

Asbestosis also increases an individual’s risk of developing lung cancer or mesothelioma. Both of these conditions can be fatal, which highlights just how dangerous exposure to asbestos is. Additionally, crocidolite and other types of asbestos can also cause pleural thickening and pleural plaques, which can also increase the risk of lung cancer and/or mesothelioma.

Is It Only Blue Asbestos That’s Dangerous?

No. All types of asbestos – crocidolite, amosite, chrysotile, tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite – are all dangerous and can cause serious health problems. However, it is crocidolite and amosite (blue and brown asbestos), which are often identified as being the most dangerous types of asbestos.

Can Crocidolite Make You Unwell?

Yes. Being exposed to blue asbestos can cause significant health problems. However, the highest risk occurs when you are exposed to the fibres over long periods of times, such as working with crocidolite. That’s why any work involving asbestos, such as removing it from a building, should only be carried out by licenced and qualified professionals.