Asbestos Removal

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is the generic term for a wide range of naturally occurring minerals that crystallise to form long thin fibres and fibre bundles. Most common is the serpentine group, which includes chrysotile (white asbestos) and which has been the most frequently mined. A second asbestos group known as the amphiboles includes crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos). The fibres have high tensile strength, and chemical, electrical and heat resistance - properties that made asbestos extremely useful as a building/insulation material, which was why asbestos proved to be so popular prior to its ban for use in 1985 for Amosite (brown) and Crocidolite (blue), and 1999 for Chrysotile (white). Asbestos has been used extensively in Great Britain and throughout the world.


Health Effects?

There are four main diseases associated with inhalation of asbestos fibres. These are asbestosis (a scarring of the lung tissue caused by asbestos), two kinds of cancer (mesothelioma and asbestos related lung cancer), and diffuse pleural thickening (a non-malignant disease affecting the lung lining).

The latest statistics (2006) suggest that there are approximately 4000 deaths each year relating to asbestos with a ratio of 1:1 for mesothelioma to asbestos related lung cancer. This figure is estimated to peak to nearly 5000 sometime before 2015. This makes managing asbestos within our buildings so vital in the attempt to reduce these numbers.

Which occupations have the highest risk of exposure to asbestos?

Based on an analysis of the deaths from 2002 - 2005 the ten occupations found to have the highest risk of mesothelioma for males were Carpenters, Plumbers, Electricians, Labourers in Other Construction Trades, Metal Plate Workers, Pipe Fitters, Construction Operatives, Managers in Construction, Energy Plant Operatives. The highest mesothelioma risk today is seen in occupations predominately associated with construction and building maintenance.

Visit the HSE website for further in depth detail as to the health effects of asbestos.

Where can asbestos be found?

Asbestos fibres can be found in a wide range of materials / products in our everyday life such as; floor tiles and linoleum, toilet cisterns, decorative finishes (artex), pipe insulation, cement roofing, roof felts, guttering and downpipes, boilers and flues, gaskets, ceiling/tiles, wall partitions, infill panels above / surrounding doors, fire doors, windows sills, soffits and many more items.