Asbestos Removal Essex - What is Asbestos?
As a Contractor we get asked many questions about Asbestos Removal Essex. Asbestos is a word which describes six natural materials. These include amosite, actinolite, anthophyllite, chrysotile, crocidolite and tremolite. Although asbestos is illegal in the United Kingdom, it is still present in old buildings and presents dangers. It was conventional for insulation, flooring and roofing. The reason asbestos was widely used was because of its natural resistance to heat, fire and electricity. It was considered an ideal material to enhance buildings safety. Before 1985, asbestos was legal and is now most commonly found in roofing, building insulation & roofing.
The HSE regulations 2000
Asbestos use was not completely banned in the United Kingdom until there was a connection discovered between the material and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is cancer associated with the lining of the lungs.
What does the term ACM mean?
ACM actually ‘Asbestos-Containing Material’ and applies to any material which contains over 1% asbestos.
Asbestos-Containing Materials are hazardous when inhaled. That is why the use and production of the material are no longer allowed within the UK.
Where is asbestos found?
Although asbestos was mostly used in the building industry, it was also extensively used within products from other sectors, these include:
- Asbestos cloth, string and rope
- Asbestos cement sheets and roof tiles
- Ceiling Tiles
- Ironing board covers
- Brake-pads and brake-pad linings
- Clutch facings
- Floor Tiles
- Mastics and Sealants
- Toilet cisterns
- Posts and fencing
Can I take my asbestos sample and take it for testing myself?
Asbestos is linked to mesothelioma if inhaled; Inner City Environmental recommends that a professional takes a sample for health and safety.
However, testing for asbestos does not require an asbestos licence.
UKAS accredited asbestos testing kits can be purchased online. On the collection of your asbestos sample, it will have to be tested at a UKAS accredited laboratory. On purchase, your testing kit fee may include the laboratory fee, so it is worth checking.
Find an accredited lab. Locations
PPE clothing - must be worn when removing asbestos
During removal of Asbestos-Containing Materials, there is a substantial likelihood that fibres will break off and become airborne meaning that special safety equipment is needed to protect those working within the areas around the asbestos.
The protective clothing Inner City Environmental wear are dustproof and conform to HSE regulations.
These overalls cover footwear and are taped at the wrists to ensure asbestos fibres do not get underneath and become attached to our operatives clothing.
Disposable single-use gloves
Toe capped rubber boots with no laces are worn and protect the feet from falling objects. These boots are easy to clean.
Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
The most critical aspect of PPE clothing is it protects operatives from inhaling asbestos fibres.
The RPE equipment Inner City use has a UK protection factor of 20 as a minimum
Our workforce selects PPE equipment which is most suitable for them in terms of it and suitability. Our workforce can wear a half-mask RPE that has a P3 filter, for non-licensed works.
When working with higher risk licensable materials, operatives wear full-faced powered respirators which conform to EN147
Risk assessments for Asbestos Removal
Risk assessments must be carried out to conform to health and safety regulations.
They must be carried out by a trained asbestos professional who has the experience and expertise of working with asbestos.
The risk assessment will be carried out at an early enough stage to ensure that special control measures can be put in place before the asbestos removal begins:
Asbestos risk assessments cover
- To control the risk of working with asbestos.
- Establish alternative risks, which include working at height and other dangerous scenarios and provide measures to reduce those risks, and ensure a safe working environment.
- Inform the workers of the risks involved.
The risk assessment should include-
- The measured amount of asbestos detected in a survey.
- Asbestos types that need removal.
- Special control measures.
- Details of the decontamination procedures
- Waste transfer information
- Emergency procedures
What are the health risks of asbestos?
Asbestos becomes a considerable health risk when inhaled into the lungs in more significant than average volumes. It can cause asbestosis and mesothelioma. The more asbestos taken into the lungs will almost certainly increase the chances of developing asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestosis - what is it?
Asbestosis will not usually show itself until about 20-30 years after a lot of asbestos has been inhaled into the lungs. It causes scarring of the lungs. It produces a gradual hardening and shrinking of the lungs, resulting in them not being able to hold as much air.
Mesothelioma - what is it?
Mesothelioma is lung cancer that develops in the space between the lining of the lungs called the pleural membrane.
It causes the pleural membrane to thicken as it grows. Breathing becomes harder.
Is asbestos dangerous to touch?
Asbestos and ACM materials are not considered a danger to health providing the asbestos fibres do not become airborne. They become airborne if disturbed by scraping, sanding or rubbing.
Asbestos that is not disturbed and in good condition and re not though to be a danger to health.
I have been exposed to asbestos once - am I in danger
Asbestos exposure has no defined levels of risk. Much of the asbestos that someone inhales is caught within the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, thus stopping it from reaching the lungs, where it becomes a danger to health. Diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma will develop after several years.
For more information on Asbestos follow the links to our other blog posts
Asbestos Removal Essex - What is Asbestos - Link
Artex in your home - Link
Asbestos Surveys - What you need to know - Link
Asbestos found in demolition - Link
The Asbestos Removal Process - Link
Grade 2 listed Hotel project in Hampshire - Link