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Background Info

Asbestos materials such as Asbestos Roof Tiles, Asbestos Plaster, Artex Asbestos, where extensively used between the years of 1950 right through the 1980's. It had the beneficial  properties of fire proofing, insulation and was ideal for use in a variety of ways in all buildings including houses, factories, schools and even hospitals. In fact, any building built before the 2nd millennium has a good chance of containing asbestos. Asbestos is deemed remotely safe if kept in good condition and undisturbed, however, dangerous fibres are released when damaged which have severe detrimental effects to whoever breathes them in.

How is Asbestos dangerous to the Body?

Breathing in high levels of these fibres increases your chances of having an asbestos related disease. Asbestos fibres remain at very low levels through the atmosphere so people are indeed exposed to this, but working close to asbestos will cause inhalation at dangerous levels which can lead to problems downstream.

The four main diseases are as follows;

1- Asbestosis - scarring of lung tissue
2- Mesothelioma
3- Asbestos-related lung cancer
4- Diffuse pleural thickening

 

 

When fibres are inhaled, there is a possibility of developing 1 of 4 diseases which range from fatal to non-fatal. The key factor to keep in mind is that these diseases will not develop over night but later on in life. Another point to note is that smokers are at an even higher risk when combined with inhalation of asbestos fibres.

Recent research has shown that asbestos may cause or induce the development of laryngeal, pharyngeal, stomach and colorectal cancers.

Asbestos Roof Tiles

Asbestos Containing Materials

1. Cement

Asbestos cement can be found in many places, both inside and outside buildings. The following areas include;

- Asbestos cement roof tiles: Mainly made up of corrugated cement and typically found in industrial buildings. Another area they are typically found at is the roofs of garages and sheds.

- Asbestos wall cladding: This has a similar shape to roofing and is usually used in conjunction with cement roofs.

- Asbestos down pipes and gutters: Usually attached at the end of asbestos cement roofs in large buildings.

- Asbestos cement flues: Typically found in boilers of homes.

Dangers: Asbestos Roof Tiles

Asbestos is usually held tightly in these areas so it doesn't usually give off very high levels of fibres, even when it is broken. However, if the asbestos is drilled or sawn, fibre release will be greatly enhanced. If you are going to work with this type of asbestos, be warned that it is usually used in conjunction with other asbestos materials such as sprayed coatings.

Artex Asbestos

 

2. Textured Coatings - ARTEX Asbestos - ARTEX Removal

This type of asbestos was mainly used to complete a project by providing decorative finishing's on areas such as the wall or ceiling. This type of asbestos is also known as Artex.

Dangers:

The fibres are not typically breathed in as they are held in a relatively firm structure and therefore not released. Nevertheless, these areas may have had sandpaper applied in the past which will weaken the structure inducing their release.

Artex Removal

3. Floor tiles, textiles and composites

There are many occasions where you find these floor tiles hidden under carpets etc. With regard to textiles, these can be found in things such as fire blankets and heat resistant gloves. Finally, the composites where generally used in bath panels, toilet cisterns and even window sills.

Dangers: Asbestos Plaster

Treat with caution as these are not as easily identified as being asbestos.

Asbestos Plaster

4. Sprayed coatings

This was usually used on the underside of roofs and on the sides of walls. In addition to this, it was used for fire protection on steel and beams that were commonly used to support buildings. This was an easy method to apply asbestos, and was very easy to over use, so there is generally debris and excess amounts around the applied area.

Dangers:

This type of asbestos is very dangerous as it breaks up easily whilst being composed of 85% asbestos. Unfortunately, the smallest of minor disturbances can cause a huge release of fibres into the atmosphere. For this reason, DO NOT attempt to work with this form under any circumstances and leave it for a HSE- licensed contractor.

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