Asbestos Risk Assessments
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural occurring fibrous silicate mineral that was from the 1950s used in buildings insulation, fire proofing and sprayed coatings on ceilings and walls. Once it was became known that asbestos fibres can cause fatal damage to the lungs it was banned from use but buildings before 2000 can still contain asbestos. Asbestos is only a danger when the fibers are allowed to flow in free air, ie when the asbestos is distrubed.
It's important to understand the types of asbestos and the potential risks involved but remember
"There are no safe limits for asbestos"
Why is it dangerous?
It is not possible to identify the type of asbestos by the colour as it is often incorporated with other materials. The only way to know for sure whether a product contains asbestos is to have it tested. In the UK the marketing, supply and new use of brown and blue asbestos was prohibited in 1985 and white asbestos in 1999. When asbestos containing materials are damaged or deteriorate with age they can release fibres into the air. These fibres when breathed in can penetrate deep into the lungs, where they remain, causing possible damage to lung tissue. The greater risk to health arises when asbestos is damaged or the material is drilled, sawn, scrubbed or sanded. If you suspect that a material might contain asbestos do not carry out work on it but seek expert advice as any DIY work can cause high, short term exposure to asbestos fibres. There are three main conditions associated with exposure to asbestos: asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Where Can I find Asbestos?
Here are a few of the common places:
Textured Ceiling Coating
Places in the House- Click for a bigger image
Pipe Lagging - damaged
AIB - Asbestos Insulating Board
Loft Loose Fill
Doors and Hatches of boilers and fires