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Asbestos and Asbestos Cement Sheet

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occuring silicate that was used as a building material during the 60s, 70s and 80s because of its chemical and heat resistant properties. Its use since the mid 90s has decreased dramatically as the dangers associated with asbestos became known and its use was restricted.

Types of Asbestos?

There are three types of asbestos:-

  • White Asbestos (chrysotile) - used most commonly in domestic applicances and buildings.
  • Brown Asbestos (amosite) - used most commonly in thermal insulation, sprayed applications, and insulation boards.
  • Blue Asbestos (crocidolite) - used most commonly for insulation laggings and sprayed coatings.

You may not be able to identify which type of asbestos it is by colour as it is often incorporated into another product.

What To Do?

If you discover white asbestos material do not panic. Often the best thing to do is nothing. If the material is in good condition i.e. not flaking or breaking up, there may be no need to remove it. Just be aware of it's location in case you need to do work in the area in the future and be sure to tell any contractor you may employ of the presence of the material.

If you do need to remove the material the job can be undertaken by individuals on a D.I.Y. basis or by a builder or contractor. If you do the work yourself, remember the most important consideration is to avoid the generation and inhalation of dust.

When handling and disposing of cement bonded asbestos always:-

  • Dampen material before handling
  • Wear a face mask
  • Do not break up whole sheets
  • Ensure all material is double wrapped in a suitable polythene (1000 gauge - or triple wrapped in refuse sacks)
  • Ensure sacks and wrappings are sealed using tape (e.g. parcel tape) before transporting or depositing
  • Don't overfill bags and beware of sharp edges that may pierce a plastic wrapping
  • Use tape to pick up smaller pieces and dust

Private householders residing in the Royal Borough can dispose of small quantities, i.e. three sheets (standard 2m x 1m) or 3 sacks if the material is broken of asbestos cement, at the Maidenhead Civic Amenity site at Stafferton Way Maidenhead. No charge is made for this service.

Although not necessary from the legal point of view, you may choose to have the work done by a licensed asbestos removal contractor

All contractors, licensed or not, will have to make arrangements for the disposal of the material in accordance with the Hazardous Waste Disposal Regulations. This will include the use of an enclosed skip, appropriate transfer documentation, and ultimate disposal to a site licensed to receive asbestos waste. If you are doing the work yourself and have more than one or two medium sized sheets you will also have to make similar arrangements for the disposal of the material.

If you discover any other asbestos in your home do not disturb it. Contact a licensed asbestos removal contractor and have the material identified and analysed. Work on any asbestos material other than asbestos cement MUST be carried out by a licensed contractor. A list of these can be found in Yellow Pages and they will be able to undertake a survey. The Council does not itself provide this service however for advice please contact Environmental Protection on 01628 683830.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) website has more information and features a range of leaflets that may be downloaded.

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Modified: 2015-08-14
Published: Fri, 14 Aug 2015 08:55:27
Author: Allison Helyer
Editor: Allison.Helyer
RDCMS ID: 7216