Kate and Wills – asbestos dilemma
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just announced that they are expecting a baby some time next year but this happy news has thrown the question of where they are going to bring up their young family into the air following the discovery of asbestos in their prospective new home in Kensington Palace which they were due to move into and make their permanent residence.
The couple currently split their time between a house in Anglesey, North Wales and Nottingham Cottage, a small house in the ground of Kensington Palace but the plan was for them to move into a much larger, newly renovated apartment within Kensington Palace itself and to make this their permanent home. The glitzy apartment 1A which used to belong to Princess Margaret was undergoing initial preparation work in order for renovations to commence but contractors uncovered asbestos in a variety of places which has to be cleared before the young couple can move in. The whole area has been rendered uninhabitable at present and it is clear that it is certainly not a safe place to bring up a young baby. The asbestos removal is expected to take several weeks delaying general renovation work by some considerable time.
Asbestos based products were commonly used in the construction of both commercial and residential buildings and the last renovations to the Palace were undertaken in the 1960s, the peak time for asbestos use in this country. It was thought of as a wonder product for its insulation and fire retardant properties and was widely used in the UK until the late 1980s. It was not until 1999 that a complete UK ban was introduced. Despite this asbestos can still be found in many buildings and properties nationwide.
If inhaled microscopic asbestos fibres can cause serious and debilitating lung conditions including pleural thickening, asbestosis, asbestos related lung cancer and mesothelioma. A feature of asbestos related lung conditions is that they take on average 20-40 years from the date of inhalation to present symptoms.
With the young Royal couple constantly in the glare of the public eye, never more so that now with the imminent arrival of a baby, the asbestos issue at the Palace is a positive for those wanting to raise awareness concerning the lethal substance, and the importance of abatement, the process of removing or containing asbestos.
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