What is asbestos and why is asbestos exposure so dangerous?

asbestos removal

Living, moving or working in a property, whether it be industrial or residential, that was built before the year 2000? Or attempting building or DIY project? You could be at risk of asbestos exposure, putting yourself and others at risk of harm.

Although blue and brown asbestos has been banned since 1985 and white asbestos since 1999, asbestos exposure may seem like an issue of the past. However, it is still present in many properties, with around 5000 workers per year and 20 tradesmen each week dying from asbestos exposure, according to the HSE.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral which crystallises and forms fibres. It became a popular material to use during the industrial revolution due to its strength, heat resistance, chemical resistance, as well as not being able to dissolve in water.

Where can asbestos be found?

Asbestos can be found in many different areas of a domestic or commercial property as stated by the government:

· Sprayed coatings on ceilings, walls, beams and columns (contains up to 85%)

· Asbestos cement (downpipes, ventilation units, roof panelling, wall cladding)

· Loose fill installation (between cavity walls, under floorboards, loft spaces)

· Lagging (heating systems, calorifiers, pipes)

· Insulation boards (AIB ceiling tiles, AIB cabinets, panels below windows, fire doors)

· Tiles, textiles & composites (fire blankets, fuse boxes, toilet cistern & seats, vinyl floor tiles)

· Rope seals & gaskets

· Textured coatings (ceilings, walls, around pipework)

· Asbestos cement (rood, panels, gutters, downpipes, wall cladding, sewage pipes)

· Roofing felt

· Exterior window panels

· Bath panels

· Soffits

Why asbestos is dangerous?

The fibres in which are made through the fibrous minerals can be released into the air if they have been disturbed or damaged, such as through DIY. Most of the time, asbestos exposure does not cause life threatening diseases, however, once you have been diagnosed it may be too late to stop it. Although asbestos exposure may not affect you straight away and it can take a while to develop in your body however it can cause diseases, even fatalities or serious illnesses such as:

· Lung cancer

· Mesothelioma (Pleural Mesothelioma being the most common form of the disease)

· Pleural Plaques & Thickening

· Asbestosis

· Warts & Corns

· Strokes

· Cardiovascular diseases

· Pulmonary fibrosis

What to do if exposed to asbestos?

Should you have been exposed to asbestos or could potentially expose yourself to the fibres in the air it is best to remove yourself from where these fibres may be present and not disturb any fibres that may be on your skin or clothing, by patting a damp cloth over the fibres and removing clothes carefully, not over your head.

The British Lung Foundation advise that if it is likely that the fibres have been inhaled, it is best to call or visit your GP to seek professional medical advice, especially if you have developed a cough, shortness of breath or any chest pain. Although it may not be serious if you have not inhaled a substantial amount, over a period of time.

It is important not to expose yourself to asbestos any further. Therefore, it is best to seek professional help to remove the asbestos and fibres safely and effectively. Not only will this give you reassurance that the asbestos has been removed and successfully disposed of through government approved waste facilities, but it will ensure cleanliness and decontamination.

Even if you have not or believe you have not been exposed to any asbestos, it is always best to get properties tested, especially before you are to complete any building or DIY projects, as well as moving into a property that has been refurbished or built before 2000.

How to deal with asbestos removal

As low-grade asbestos survey, testing & removal specialists, CPL t/a Rainbow International can help commercial & domestic customers, local authorities, property management companies, property developers and the retail & leisure industry.  We also specialise in fire and flood restoration and industrial cleaning & decontamination.

We assure you that we remove all low-grade asbestos under controlled conditions and safely remove and dispose of it at government approved waste facilities, giving you peace of mind that it has been correctly disposed of.

We can deal with asbestos garage removal, asbestos shed removal, asbestos roof removal or asbestos floor tile removal or any other low-grade asbestos removal and disposal – all of which are conducted under rigorous Health & Safety standards. We are Health & Safety accredited and hold relevant insurance cover. Our highly trained specialists receive regular refresher training with BSure.

For further information, give us a call on 0808 1960363 or drop us an email and we would be happy to discuss your requirements.