Where is Asbestos Found?
A test for Asbestos could find it at work or in the home. Because asbestos was used prolifically in building and remodeling from the 1950s until 1999, it can be found almost everywhere. In fact, any building built prior to 1999 in the UK could have asbestos present. Its insulating properties and resistance to fire made it a popular ‘safety’ product before the dangers of exposure to asbestos were fully understood.
You can find asbestos in ceiling tiles, certain types of tile flooring, pipe lagging, wall cavities and many other areas. Asbestos can still be found in schools and even hospitals too.
While left intact and undisturbed, asbestos is not particularly harmful. Where it becomes a danger is when the surface of the asbestos product deteriorates, becomes broken or when it is removed. Asbestos is a particular problem for anyone working in the construction industries or in demolition.
Here are a few of the places you might find Asbestos at work or at home:
‘Asbestos coating’ describes the various mixtures containing asbestos, which were widely used as surface coatings for fire protection purposes or as both heat and sound insulation. Most of these coatings were applied by spray but some were applied by hand.
The term ‘asbestos insulation’ describes asbestos-containing products which were not in practice applied as coatings: those used for heat, sound, fire protection and other insulation purposes.
This includes preformed sections of pipe insulation, asbestos lagging and asbestos infill (asbestos used to fill the spaces between voids, applied between floors and packed around cables where they pass between floors). Millboards are also included in this definition – they have also been used for insulation of electrical equipment and for thermal insulation.
AIB is a lightly compressed board made from asbestos fibre and hydrated Portland cement (or calcium silicate with other filler materials). AIB is covered by this definition whether or not the board is used for insulation.
For instance this definition will still apply to asbestos insulating board when its main purpose is structural, i.e. as a wall partition. Asbestos wallboard (a more compressed variety of AIB) will also fall into this category.
‘Asbestos cement’ means a material which is predominantly a mixture of cement and Chrysotile which can be moulded and compressed to produce a range of asbestos products such as profiled roofing sheets and sidings, flat sheet, gutters, drainpipes, pressure pipes and flues.
Asbestos cement was widely used on the exterior of buildings and for drainage products and as it is weatherproof and waterproof will absorb less water (<30%) than asbestos insulation or asbestos insulating board (³ 30%). (Amosite and/or Crocidolite asbestos have also been used in asbestos cement and may sometimes be present along with the Chrysotile but in smaller quantities.)
Other materials where asbestos fibres are firmly linked in a matrix include:
Textured decorative coatings and paints which contain asbestos
Any article of bitumen, plastic, resin or rubber which contains asbestos where its thermal or acoustic properties are incidental to its main purpose (e.g. vinyl floor tiles, electric cables, roofing felt)
Industry Sectors where Asbestos can be found
Asbestos affects over 60 industry sectors here are just a few:
Shipbuilding, Offshore and Marine
Schools & Hospitals
Architects & Surveyors
Alert Asbestos Warning Device
Launching soon, ALERT (Asbestos Location Equipment in Real Time) is the world’s first affordable asbestos warning device that provides a continuous assessment of the atmosphere in a workplace.
Similar in concept to a ‘smoke alarm,’ the ALERT warning device alerts people to the presence of asbestos dust or fibres in the air so that they can call in professional help. To find out more about ALERT and how it could help you, contact us now for further information.