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Where can asbestos be found?

Any building, domestic or commercial, built or refurbished before the year 2000 can include asbestos. Many of the common materials used in the building trade can contain asbestos, and you may come across it during your work.

The common places to find asbestos internally are:

  • Coatings sprayed on ceilings, walls, beams and columns
  • Asbestos cement water tank
  • Loose fill insulation
  • Lagging on boilers and pipes
  • AIB ceiling tiles
  • Viny floor tiles
  • Textured decorating coatings on walls and ceilings (e.g: artex)

Common places to find asbestos externally are:

  • Gutters and downpipes
  • Soffits
  • Asbestos cement roof
  • Asbestos cement panels
  • Roofing felt
  • Asbestos cement flue
  • Windows puttys

The dangers of asbestos

When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything. This is why it is important that you protect yourself now.

The history of asbestos

The history of asbestos in the UK dates back to the late 1870s when the use of the material started, mainly on ships, steam engines and in power generating plants. By early 1900s the dangers of asbestos started becoming known – yet it wasn’t until 1999 when all types of asbestos were banned in the UK. Today, asbestos is still widely used in the developing world.

Types of asbestos

Chrysotile

The most commonly used form of asbestos is Chrysotile. Roofs, ceilings, walls and floors of homes and businesses are still found to be containing asbestos to this day.

Amosite

Amosite was used in cement sheets and pipe insulation frequently. Amosite can also be found in thermal insulation products, insulating board and ceiling tiles.

Crocidolite

Crocidolite was most commonly used in steam engines  as insulation. It was also used for some cement products, plastics and spay on coatings.

Anthophyllite

In limited quantities, Anthophyllite was used for insulatio products and construction materials. 

Tremolite

Like Actinolite, Tremolite is not used commercially, but can be found as contaminants in Chrysotile asbestos.

Actinolite

Like Tremolite, Actinolite is not used commercially, but can be found as contaminants in Chrsotile asbestos.

Types of asbestos The fibres of each type of asbestos