Knowledge, Awareness and a Test for Asbestos saves Lives

At Asbestos Sampling our role is not only to provide a safe method to test for asbestos but also to spread awareness.

It’s a fact that this lethal material has left behind it an unparalleled legacy of death and illness globally. However, Britain has been particularly hard hit with around 5,000 deaths annually. Tradespeople who have died are mainly, but not exclusively, those who have worked in the electrical, construction, insulation and plumbing industries.

Beware Asbestos Campaign app

In 2014 the Health & Safety Executive created an application and launched a “Beware Asbestos Campaign”.  Its purpose was to allow easy access to information so that a wider understanding and awareness of the dangers were available to the public. Specifically the HSE wanted tradespeople to be aware of the safety rules and regulations associated with handling the material. Additionally, it sought to educate people about the types of work that could lead to exposure and the necessary precautions they should take before starting such tasks.

Initially there was much criticism of the app with pundits asserting that it didn’t provide sufficient information. However, three years on the campaign has been a success with widespread appeal and access to the app.

It was never the intention of the campaign to bombard people with so much information that it became confusing.  It seeks to provide simple, easily understood data to encourage tradespeople to protect themselves. In consequence this will assist in bringing down the number of deaths from asbestos related diseases.  Click on HSE Beware Asbestos to download the app.

Knowledge is power

From our own point of view anything that helps people to understand the dangers of asbestos has to be a good thing.  Taking appropriate safety measures in dealing with it and knowing how to saves lives.

Asbestos is not only found in industrial environments. Any home built before 2000 in the UK is likely to contain some asbestos.  As DIY has become so popular over the past decade, it’s essential that you test for asbestos before you start any job in an older property.

The main things to look out for are old floor tiles, insulation boards, lagging on tanks, Artex type plaster, guttering and roofing. None of these things pose much of a risk unless they are broken, damaged or disturbed.  As soon as they are, there is danger of asbestos fibres becoming airborne and therefore a potentially lethal risk to your health.

Test for asbestos

Our asbestos testing kit contains everything you require to safely take samples of suspected material. Send them back to our UKAS accredited lab and we will give you the results within 24/48 hours of receipt. The kit is not expensive and you should perhaps view it as prevention against asbestos related diseases. Your health is precious and we intend to keep it that way.

For more information on how the kit works check out our video below or contact us to discuss your particular concerns.

 

 

Where to Find Asbestos in the Home

Asbestos was widely used in home construction from 1930 to around 2000, particularly from 1960 onward. You may be wondering where to find asbestos in the home. Houses/flats built around this time may contain asbestos materials. Properties built since the mid 80’s are unlikely to have asbestos in the fabric of the building and from 1990 extremely unlikely.

Asbestos was outlawed in the UK in 1999

Below are some common places where asbestos can be found in the home. If in doubt get it tested!

Inside

A – Asbestos cement water tank
B – Pipe Lagging
C – Loose fill insulation
D – *Textured decorative coating (Artex)
E – *AIB ceiling tiles
F – AIB bath panels
G – Toilet seat andcistern
H – AIB Fuse box
I – AIB airing cupboard and/or sprayed insulation coating boiler
J – AIB partition wall
K – AIB interior window panel
L – AIB around boiler
M – Vinyl floor tiles
N – AIB behind fire

Outside

O – Gutters and asbestos downpipes
P – Soffits – AIB or asbestos cement
Q – AIB exterior window panel
R – Asbestos cement roof
S – Asbestos cement panels T-Roofing felt

* AIB = Asbestos Insulation Board

It’s not easy to distinguish asbestos insulation board from other types of board used in construction.  If you have partition walls, ceiling tiles, soffits or any other area with boarding it really makes sense to buy an asbestos testing kit. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry! And remember the golden rule – test it before you touch it. It might delay your project by a few days but what price would you put on preserving your health?

*Artex

Artex was a very popular textured coating during the 70s and 80s. Do you remember all those swirly patterns and the popcorn effect?  Homeowners loved the fashionable, decorative look and it was both durable and inexpensive.

Its sound proofing and heat resistant properties also led to the material being widely used in both residential and commercial buildings en masse. These excellent qualities were not least due to the fact that Artex and similar textured coatings contained asbestos.

Disturbing the asbestos in Artex

If you have Artex on your walls or ceilings it isn’t the end of the world if it is in excellent condition, unless you disturb the asbestos in it.  Demolishing walls, drilling a hole in a wall or ceiling, removing ceiling or wall boards and re-plastering are just some of the ways lethal fibres can escape into the air. Like insulation boards, there is no way of knowing whether the textured coatings in your property contain asbestos without testing.

An asbestos testing kit will alleviate any concerns you may have.

Where to find asbestos in the home and how to test it

If you would like more information about where to find asbestos in the home or the testing of it, check out our video below.

Alternatively contact us and we will be happy to discuss your specific problem and advise you accordingly.

 

Asbestos Awareness – Dispelling the Myths

Asbestos awareness is growing and most people know something of the dangers associated with exposure to it. However, there are still a lot of myths that need to be dispelled if we are to fully understand the potential health hazards.

1.On identifying asbestos in your home or workplace it must be removed immediately

If there is no damage to the product, there is no immediate health hazard.  Do not rip up suspect floor tiles, chip back plaster or anything else since you will release fibres into the air.

The first thing to do is get an asbestos testing kit or hire a qualified asbestos surveyor to assess the risk.  Samples taken from suspected asbestos products can be tested very quickly.  Once the test results come back you can seek advice from Asbestos Sampling or your surveyor as to what to do.

2.There is no asbestos in new buildings

A recent survey, conducted by the Health & Safety Executive, revealed that just 15 percent of participants knew that builders were still using asbestos in the construction of residential and commercial properties right up until 2000. Hence if your property was built before 2000 there is a fair chance it will contain some asbestos.

3.Drinking water after working with asbestos will prevent asbestosis

The myth that having a drink after breathing in asbestos fibres will prevent asbestosis was shared by 14 percent of those questioned by the 2014 HSE survey.  27 percent believed that as long as a window was open and asbestos dust could escape, they’d be fine!  Neither is true!

To read the full report on the survey click on HSE Beware Asbestos Campaign

4.Masks prevent the inhalation of asbestos fibres

The normal masks you can purchase in a DIY store will not prevent you breathing in the fibres.  There are strict health and safety guidelines applicable to working with asbestos.

You need to be wearing protective clothing and a specialist face mask with filtration to be protected.  An asbestos testing kit contains everything you need to take samples safely.

5.You can catch Mesothelioma

Many people believe that Mesothelioma is contagious – it isn’t.  The only way you might contract the disease from another person is if someone has been working with asbestos and the lethal fibres are clinging to their clothes.  In this way you might breathe them in.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos.  It’s a really sneaky cancer because often sufferers are not aware of the symptoms until it is too late.  Worse, it can take many years to manifest. It’s therefore important to tell your GP if you have been exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos awareness can save lives

Currently in the UK, 20 people per week die from diseases that are directly related to asbestos.   As more people learn about the risks and asbestos awareness grows, we hope fatalities will reduce.

If you suspect there is any asbestos in your home invest in a testing kit from Asbestos Sampling. The kit is not expensive, starting at under £30, and is the first step to making your residential or working environment safe. For more information about the kits or a specific project call us on 0800 368 8849 or chat to us live on our website.