Asbestos is a naturally occuring fibrous material that was extensively used as a building material in the United Kingdom from the 1950s through to the mid-1980s.
It was used for a variety of different purposes and was particularly ideal for fireproofing and insulation purposes. Because Asbestos can often be mixed with other materials, its difficult to know whether you are working with it or not. But any building built before the year 2000 (houses, schools, hospitals, offices etc.) can contain Asbestos.
There are three main types of commercially used Asbestos, which are:
There are three other rarer forms of Abestos, which are Tremolite, Actinolite and Anthrophyllite.
The three main types of Asbestos (L-R Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite)
Where Can Asbestos Be Found?
Asbestos can be found in many products including:
1. Sprayed Coating
2. Textured Coating (e.g. Artex)
3. Asbestos Cement sheets and moulded products
4. Electrical fuse boards and panels
5. Insulations and Lagging to plant and pipe work
6. Floor Tiles and Coverings (Vinyl, Thermoplastic)
7. Asbestos Insulation Board (AIB)
8. Gas and electrical heater
9. Textiles and Gaskets
10. Other Materials
Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?
Asbestos materials in good condition are safe unless the fibres become airborne, which occurs when materials are damaged.
If you inhale Asbestos fibres they can become lodged in the tissue of your chest and your body’s natural defences may not be able to easily break them down. This can lead to lung diseases such as Mesothelioma, Asbestos-Related Lung Cancer, Asbestosis and Pleural Thickening, particularly if you have become exposed to fibres over a number of years.
All three types of Asbestos are considered dangerous, but Amosite (Brown) and Crocidolite (Blue) are considered to be more dangerous then Chrysotile (White).