Frequently Asked Questions
Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibres that can be separated into thin, durable threads. These fibres are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. Due to the aforementioned attractive properties, Asbestos was extensively used as a building material for a number of years.
Asbestos was known as the “miracle mineral” due to its heat and sound insulation properties; resistance to chemical attack, versatility and it was also inexpensive.
Asbestos is a blanket term for at least six mineral substances: chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos), crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite. White, Brown and Blue asbestos were the most commonly used.
• Eaves, gutters and rainwater fall pipes
• Fire blankets
• Boilers
• Garage and shed roofs
• Linings for walls, ceilings and doors
• Insulation panels in some storage heaters
• Bath panels
• Central heating flues
• Loose asbestos packing between floors and in partition walls
• Ironing boards
• Ceiling finishes
• Sprayed on insulation and acoustic applications
• Buildings, ships and other structures
• Vinyl asbestos floor tiles
• Laboratory tabletops
• Heater banks (air-conditioning ducts)
• Roofing felts
• Roof sheeting/cladding
•  Suspended ceiling tiles
• Friction materials (brake pads, shoes. etc.)
• Industrial gaskets
• Naturally occurring ores/soils
When someone disturbs an asbestos-containing product, they release the microscopic fibres into the air. If inhaled, these thin fibres can become trapped in the lungs. Over long periods of time, they can accumulate and cause inflammation, scarring and other critical health problems.
Asbestos has been classified as a known human carcinogen (asubstance that causes cancer). Studies have shown that exposure to asbestos may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma, which is a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen. Although rare, mesothelioma is the most common form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure.
Asbestos exposure may also increase the risk of asbestosis, which is an inflammatory condition affecting the lungs that can cause shortness of breath, coughing, and permanent lung damage.
Asbestos cement products are not a significant health risk if they are in a stable condition and remain undisturbed. Roofing that is weathered, structurally unsound or no longer waterproof should be replaced by a competent, certified and insured contractor.
You should never walk on an asbestos cement roof as they can be extremely fragile and susceptible to breakage easily.
The Majority of buildings built during the period 1940-1999 are considered to contain some form of Asbestos. Prior to purchase, we would strongly recommend getting the area of concern surveyed by an independent asbestos surveyor.
An asbestos survey is an effective way to help you manage asbestos in your premises by providing accurate information about the location, amount and type of any asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). It is strongly advised that you should have an asbestos survey carried out if you are looking to purchase a property/refurbish/carryout demolition works on a building thatwas built pre 1999, as it is very likely to contain some form of ACMs
The Asbestos Containing material must be analyzed in a specialist laboratory to ascertain the type of Asbestos involved. There is a couple of hours work required in surveying buildings depending on their size and samples will be taken and tested in the lab and a full report issued on completion. There is therefore a fee for this service and again it varies on the size of the property. We are, however, always available to spend time discussing asbestos fears and giving advice on any asbestos concerns.
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