Asbestos

Asbestos is a fire-resistant mineral once used in building construction, insulation and home products that has been found to pose a health hazard. It includes the presence of and exposure to asbestos fibres and Manufactured Mineral Fibres (MMF, which include rockwool and glass fibre blankets) in dwellings. (White, blue and brown forms of asbestos fibres are included, that is chrysotile and both forms of amphibole.).

Identification

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Asbestos cement is a hard brittle greyish material. As it’s name suggests, asbestos cement is a combination of cement and asbestos.  The actual asbestos content may range between 10 -15% of which may be either white, brown or blue asbestos.

  • Part of a wide range of building products found in most traditionally built houses and flats.
  • Located in places not likely to be disturbed so airborne
  • More of a problem in non-traditionally or ‘system built’ flats built between 1945 and 1980, because of sprayed coatings and partitioning as well as chrysotile materials in positions at risk from damage or disturbance. So, airborne fibre levels are higher
  • Buildings most affected are high-rise council estates built in the 1950s and 60s.
  • MMF Mostly used in loft and cavity wall insulation. Modern products release few, if any, fibres and are not bio-persistent so risk is minimal.

There are many uses of asbestos to be found within and around a property the most commonly found are asbestos cement products.

  • Flat or corrugated sheets used mainly for roofing
  • Soffit and facia boards for garages and sheds
  • As a lining cladding for fire protection
  • Cold water storage tanks
  • External rainwater pipes and guttering
  • For internal partition walls

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