Asbestos is made of microscopic fibres that can become airborne and inhaled by humans. Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring minerals that naturally bundle as fibres. They are made up of several elements, including silicon and oxygen, as well as many others.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before it was banned, asbestos was used in several different industries. Asbestos was used in building and construction for houses, such as for pipes, boilers, cement, ceilings and much more. This includes insulation and foundations for some old houses that were built pre-1999. In some places, it was also used for automotive purposes.
There are six types of asbestos which include Chrysotile (white asbestos), Amosite (brown asbestos), Crocidolite (blue asbestos), Anthophyllite, Tremolite and Actinolite. All are six unique minerals and belong to the serpentine and amphibole mineral families.
Due to the fibres being extremely light, asbestos fibres can stay in the air for up to 72 hours. If the room has air currents then this can take even longer. It can also depend on how clean the air is.
Asbestos was entirely banned in the UK in 1999 with the final ban on Chrysotile. Amosite and Crocidolite were already banned previously from import in 1985. The Asbestos (Prohibitions) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 came into force on 24th November 1999, signed by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.
Asbestos is at its most dangerous when it is inhaled by someone. The fibres make their way into the respiratory system and can cause breathing problems. This can lead to several types of cancer and other diseases. An asbestos-containing material is only considered dangerous if the fibres are released into the air as it has a chance of entering the body.
Asbestos poses a potential health hazard when it is disturbed as the fibres may be dispersed into the air. Non-friable asbestos that has not been damaged is best left undisturbed and managed. Friable asbestos has a much higher chance of being damaged. If the removal process is not done properly, it can do more harm than leaving it undisturbed.
If inhaled, asbestos can be a major risk to someone’s health. Asbestos fibres can cause diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and many other respiratory issues. For many of these diseases, the symptoms do not often appear until years after the fibres were inhaled.
If your property was built before 1999 then it could potentially possess asbestos fibres. It could be present in insulation, pipes, cement, tiles and many other areas of your home. It can also be found in ceilings that contain artex plaster as asbestos was commonly used for these materials.
In some cases, asbestos is better left undisturbed if it is in a good condition. Asbestos-containing materials may disperse fibres if removed improperly. if there is potential for the fibres to be dispersed then it should be removed by a professional who can dispose of the asbestos safely.
It is recommended that you get asbestos removed by a professional as the individual should be trained and qualified to safely remove and dispose of the asbestos. Comprehensive processes must be followed in order to ensure safety and success of the removal. Removing the asbestos yourself may cause more harm than good.
After removal, asbestos waste must be disposed of in a specified landfill and that a permit that allows for asbestos. In some cases, you may be able to dispose of asbestos waste in waste landfills, as long as it within as separate cell. Always check these details before disposing of asbestos waste.