Asbestos Removal
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ASBESTOS REMOVAL

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The treatment and removal of asbestos is regulated by the Health & Safety Authority (HSA), and their website offers online publications and guidance on various aspects of asbestos.  Here we provide a brief outline of asbestos issues and answer the most frequently asked questions. 

· Asbestos and the risks
· Those at risk
· Asbestos products
· How to determine if products contains asbestos
· How to deal with asbestos materials
· HSE (UK) Report on Asbestos - The Hidden Killer

Asbestos and the dangers

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral mined from the ground and then processed and refined.  The fibres were then added to a binding agent to create an Asbestos Containing Material (ACM), such as pipe lagging or insulation boards, to increase their strength, durability and fire resistance.

The three main types of asbestos used in construction were: Crocidolite, commonly known as Blue asbestos, Amosite (Brown), and Chrysotile (White).  Although the different types of asbestos may vary in colour they cannot be identified by colour alone.  A laboratory analysis is required to determine the type. 

In Ireland asbestos was used by the building industry from the late 1800’s until 1980, with particular zest between from the 1950s to the late 1970s. Although the importation and use of asbestos was eventually banned in 1999, it is estimated that a large amount of commercial, industrial, public and residential buildings still contain asbestos.

Invisible to the naked eye, when asbestos fibres are inhaled or swallowed they become trapped in the body and can lead to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Statistics show that the more asbestos fibres inhaled the greater the risk of developing a disease.  There is no such thing as a safe exposure level to asbestos but individual susceptibility plays an important role in the development of disease. 

Those at risk

Statistics in Ireland are unclear however Asbestos-related disease is the biggest occupational health killer in the UK with 3,000 people currently dying each year, 25% of these once worked in the building and maintenance trades and often would have worked unknowingly on asbestos containing materials.  It is now illegal to use asbestos in the construction or refurbishment of any premises however there is still a significant amount of ACM’s still in place.  Those at potential risk are anyone whose work involves drilling, sawing or cutting into the fabric of premises.  If disturbed or damaged there is a risk of inhalation of airborne fibres.  However, as long as the asbestos is in good condition and not likely to be disturbed or damaged the risk is low. ACM’s may be found in buildings constructed as late as the year 2000.  

Asbestos Products

Fibrous asbestos products such as pipe lagging can contain up to 90% asbestos.  Bonded products, where the asbestos fibres are bound into the cement, contain low amounts of asbestos (10-15%) e.g. asbestos cement sheets. Asbestos was used in an innumerable amount of products, but the most common are:   

· asbestos cement products e.g. flue pipes, flat or corrugated sheets, rainwater goods and water tanks
· asbestos packing pieces used as fire breaks in voids
· lagging used in insulation of pipes and boilers
· sprayed asbestos used in ducts, fire breaks, structural steelwork 
· ceiling panels, partitions and soffit boards
· insulation boards used for fire protection
· paper lining used for insulation of electrical equipment
· vinyl floor tiles and bitumen adhesive

How to determine if products contains asbestos

The only way to confirm if something contains asbestos is to have it tested, and you must always presume it does until proved otherwise.  There are a number of companies that offer provide this service.    

Under legislation, any building to undergo major refurbishment or complete demolition is required to have an asbestos survey to identify asbestos materials. Due to the potential cost of removing and disposing of asbestos, surveys are also carried out prior to the purchase or sale of buildings.  

How to deal with asbestos materials

The type and condition of the ACM will dictate how it should be treated.  If asbestos is in good condition and is unlikely to be disturbed, then it is safe to leave it in place and carry out periodical inspections. ACM’s that are damaged can either be encapsulated (sealed) or removed. 
Brown and blue asbestos are high-risk and their treatment or removal are subject to more stringent legislation and must be carried out by a competent asbestos contractor.  Notification of the works must also be submitted to the HSA fourteen days before the work can be carried out.

UK HSE Report on Asbestos

Read a report from the UK HSE Department on Asbestos - The Hidden Killer

Hastie Insulation (Irl) Ltd are very experienced and competent asbestos removal contractors.  For a competitive quotation to encapsulate or remove ACM’s please contact Hastie on 041 9829101 or email: hastie@iol.ie

 

 

 

   
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