What is Asbestos?
How can you identify which materials contain Asbestos?
It is very hard to identify asbestos due to its microscopic content but we can identify the most common building materials used that may contain asbestos, the list below is a not a conclusive guide but it does give you an idea of the most common places you may find asbestos in.
There are 3 main types of asbestos found in the uk.
This is the most common of asbestos found throughout the UK. It is alternatively identified as “white asbestos” and shows up as long fluffy looking fibres under the microscope.
Commonly found in: Textured coating, cement panels, floor tiles, insulation board.
this type of asbestos was commonly mined in South Africa and is commonly referred to as “brown asbestos” and has a harsh spiky fibres in them which helps with heat resistance, anti condensation and acoustic purposes.
Commonly found in: Insulation Board, ceiling tiles and thermal products
This type of asbestos was also commonly mined in South Africa where it occurs in ironstone. It is identified by its needle like appearance under a microscope and is referred to as “blue asbestos”.
Commonly found in: Spray on coatings, pipe insulation and some cement products
1. The danger of asbestos exposure
If you have a property that was build from the 1960’s all the way through to as recent as 2000, this property may very well have asbestos in it. If you disturb or damage any ACM (asbestos containing material) you have a potential of releasing fibres that can be inhaled and these small fibres can become attached to your lungs. Heath complicating that arise from asbestos exposure doesn’t appear straight after contact.
2. The process
Our surveyor will take small inconspicuous samples or scrapings in a plastic zip lock bag, this bag then gets labelled and sent to our labs for processing. Our UKAS recognised laboratories will take this sample and put it into a clear box where it will be opened safely and then analyzed under a microscope, they will then be able to tell if there is any asbestos present in the sample and identify what kind of asbestos it is.
3. Sampling and testing asbestos
Without testing your item it is very difficult to say if it contains asbestos or not. Asbestos fibres are only visible through a microscope so if you are concerned that your item may have asbestos in it, its worth having it sampled and tested to give you peace of mind. It is really important to know what kind of asbestos is in your sample and when your samples are accompanied by our reports we can advise you on the safest way forward.
4. Conduct a survey
Due to the health implications of not having an asbestos test or asbestos sampling done, it is very important that we highlight the necessity of having a survey and the detrimental affect it could have on your health and the health of others who many come in contact with it.