PURCHASING A PROPERTY WITH AN ASBESTOS ROOF
1. For many years asbestos was considered a very useful and versatile mineral the world all over and constituted 3% of South Africa’s mineral weath. Asbestos is heat resistant, fire retardant and was even used by the ancient Greecs in the construction of their temples.
2. However, asbestos can wreak havoc on people’s health when they’re exposed to it’s microscopic fibres. Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980) was a victim of mesothelomia which he attributed to stripping asbestos from navy ships when he was a US marine.
3. South Africa officially banned the manufacturing, processing and use of asbestos and asbestos containing products in 2008 (Environment Conservation Act 1989 and the March 2008 Regulations for the Prohibition of the Use, Manufacture, Import and Export of Asbestos and Asbestos Containing Material). The last of South Africa’s asbestos mines ceased production in 2001 and closed down the following year. Unfortunately, the once lucrative industry has left the environment polluted.
4. The Department of the Environment was satisfied that there was no undue risk in the use of asbestos containing materials and therefore the regulations imposed did not prohibit the continued use of these products, for example asbestos-cement roof sheets or ceilings. Over time these products will be replaced with asbestos-free alternatives.
5. Asbestos remains omnipresent and can be found in our homes, schools and places of work. Some common examples of asbestos used in everyday products are;
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