Is an asbestos-free world possible?

More than 19 years since it was banned in the UK, asbestos remains widespread in our private and public buildings. It’s still there because removing it all presents a huge, hazardous and expensive challenge, but also because in most cases, managing it in place has been thought to be an effective safeguard.

However, despite strict rules, lapses and disturbances are common, and both workers and members of the public are still exposed to deadly fibres. There have been calls for asbestos to be removed altogether from the built environment, but such large-scale removal would inevitably involve challenges, not least of which would be the sheer cost of safely extracting and processing millions of tonnes of highly carcinogenic materials.

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