History of Asbestos

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The History of Asbestos

Asbestos, a material once prevalent in construction and industry, has a long and complex history, dating back thousands of years.

Early Use of Asbestos

  • Evidence of asbestos use in Cyprus dates back to around 5,000 years ago.
  • In Finland, asbestos usage was recorded around 2,000 BC.
  • Asbestos was also utilised during Roman times for various purposes.

Asbestos during the Industrial Revolution

The 1800s marked a significant increase in asbestos use, aligning with industrial advancements.

Asbestos in World War Reconstruction

The post-war era, particularly in London and Southeast England, saw a surge in asbestos use for rebuilding efforts.

Asbestos and the Growth of New Towns in the UK

The 1960s witnessed the rise of new towns like Milton Keynes and Thames Mead, with asbestos playing a key role in their development.

Peak of World Asbestos Production

  • Global peak production of asbestos reached 6 million tonnes in 1974.
  • The UK imported approximately 6 million tonnes, with an estimated 4.5 million tonnes still present for potential removal.

This document provides a historical insight into the use and impact of asbestos, highlighting its widespread use in various eras and regions.