Dangers of Waste Disposal

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We’ve previously discussed the dangers associated with renovating domestic and commercial properties (that were built prior to 1999) and the risks they can pose to your health with prolonged exposure (mesothelioma; lung cancer; asbestosis (lung scarring) and diffuse pleural thickening) – but what of land?

You may not think it but venture onto railway land, heavy engineering sites, old waste disposal sites, scrap yards, power stations and sites where pre-1980’s buildings have been demolished, and many of these areas have a high chance of being contaminated by asbestos.

Yet unlike properties, where physical materials containing asbestos can easily be identified through building plans, surveys and samples. When it comes to dealing with toxic land its disposal is not as simple.

Common Dangers of Asbestos

Asbestos is a hidden threat. Not because too many of us are unaware of the presence of asbestos-containing building materials in our homes and commercial properties, but due to the fact that long-term exposure can lead to the development of cancerous and lung related issues.

The impact asbestos exposure can have on your health is not immediate, but develops over a series of 15-60 years. So as you can imagine those at the most risk of becoming ill are the individuals who work alongside these materials daily and in turn, those who dispose of it.

Personal exposure to airborne asbestos (released from disturbing materials i.e. walls, ceilings, roofs etc.) is more dangerous than normal environmental levels; yet contaminated land still poses many dangers, so it is vital that you know how to dispose of it safely.

For instance, when hazardous chemicals get into the soil, these contaminants can harm plants which take this contamination up into their roots. This danger increases if people eat animals or plants that have come into contact with these polluted soils; resulting in a negative impact on your health.

Now if this can happen with hazardous chemicals, imagine the impact asbestos can have?

How to Combat the Dangers of Contaminated Soils and Toxic Land

  • Step One: Look at the history of the land – before you commence any work look into the history of the land and what it was previously used for. This background check should reveal if it has previously belonged to a scrap yard, landfill or a demolition site (of pre-1980’s properties) which commonly contained asbestos.
  • Step Two: Look at land plans – if asbestos has been buried anywhere on the land, these plans should indicate where (as any burials have been to be declared).
  • Step Three: Perform a survey – if no survey has previously been done on the land, but you suspect the presence of asbestos; hire an asbestos surveyor to check out the land. They’ll be able to identify any potential areas. Similarly, they can also take soil samples which can be sent away for testing to determine if asbestos is present and whether or not it has contaminated the soil.
  • Step Four: Asbestos removal – if there is any machinery or building materials on the surface of the land which is suspected of containing asbestos, you can hire specialists such as our team at ICE Asbestos to can safely disassemble them and remove them from your property without disturbing it.

If on the other hand it is discovered that asbestos has been buried, our team can perform removal works to prevent contamination of your land. This is initiated by us first performing a preliminary risk management assessment to determine the risk to our workers and local residents, before moving onto a risk evaluation.

During the evaluation, our team will first look at the dangers of airborne release (by examining the characteristics of the ACM, the soil, weather influences and land use), before implementing safety procedures to carefully remove and dispose of it.

To learn more about asbestos-contaminated land, read our article How to deal with Disposal of Waste on Farmland/Property. Alternatively, for more information about our disposal practices, contact our team at ICE Asbestos today.

Our experts are licensed, trained and insured to work all over the UK, with offices based in Nottingham, Darlington, Birmingham, Leeds and Norwich.

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