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What is asbestos?Asbestos is a group of microscopic natural minerals that are naturally fire resistant and flexible.
Where is asbestos found?It is well known that asbestos was used in building materials from the 1950’s onwards. Products containing asbestos are all too common within both domestic and commercial environments, especially in buildings or offices built prior to the late 1970’s. Search buildings built prior to 2000 and you’ll find that asbestos was used in many applications including pipe and building insulation, roofing, carpet underlay, ceiling, wall and floor tiles, patching compounds, vehicle brake pads, ironing board pads, electrical wiring, textured paints, cements, and many more.
When was asbestos banned in the UK?It was in the late 1990’s that it was finally banned as a building material.
Which asbestos is safe?
Asbestos can be safe if managed correctly. Asbestos based products are fairly safe when undamaged, but as a precaution you should have your building assessed by a trained asbestos engineer. Surveying and bulk sample analysis can help you to determine what you are dealing with. Similarly encapsulation and re-inspections can help you to manage asbestos and minimise risks.
In many cases, asbestos can remain safely in a building and never cause harm. Usually, there are other materials present which prevent the asbestos particles from being released into the air. However, when these materials become damaged, the danger becomes very real.
In fact, as soon as it is disturbed, it can become a very serious health hazard as when it comes to asbestos there is no safe level of exposure. Quite simply, the more exposure you have, the greater the risk of long-term health problems.
Asbestos, which is most dangerous?
All types of asbestos has the potential to be dangerous but some are more fibrous than others. There are 6 types of asbestos but the 3 most common types are: Chrysotile, Amosite and Crocidolite.
Asbestos, who is at risk?
In general, anyone who is exposed to asbestos fibres is at risk.
Exposure may occur only when the asbestos containing material is disturbed or becomes damaged, causing particles and fibres to be released into the air. If you have damaged asbestos based products then do not delay – you, your colleagues and employees run a high risk of long term health problems. Often the symptoms may not become apparent for 30 years or so!
When is asbestos disturbed?
Asbestos can be disturbed when carrying out home refurbishments; demolishing a building and also through every day use. Over time, the condition of ACM may deteriorate without any obvious reason and asbestos fibres may be released into the air.
If you suspect you have materials containing asbestos, then you should not be tempted to investigate.
Why is asbestos carcinogenic?
The fibres inhaled from asbestos exposure are known to pose an increased health risk. This includes lung cancer and mesothelioma. As well as, Asbestosis, this is classified as a long term progressive non-cancer disease.
Who regulates asbestos removal?
The HSE is the governing body that regulates the removal of asbestos and ensures work carried out complies with Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The HSE also visit sites and carry’s out license renewal.