Asbestos is the name for a group of natural occurring mineral fibres which are strong and both heat and chemically resistant. Due to these properties, asbestos was commonly used in the past as insulation and fire proofing. It was also used as a component in other building materials. There are three main types of asbestos found in Ireland – chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos).What are the risks?
The risk associated with exposure to asbestos relates to the possibility that the fibres within the asbestos containing material (ACM) can become released into the air and are then inhaled.
Breathing in air containing asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related diseases (mainly cancers of the chest and lungs). These diseases will not occur immediately and can take from 15 – 60 years to develop. Note that as long as asbestos is in good condition and there is no disturbance or damage to the ACM, it will not pose a risk to health as fibres will not be released.
Removing asbestos is a complex procedure and must only be done by a contractor who has the necessary training, equipment and experience. Improper removal increases the risk of fibre inhalation.
Asbestos had a wide range of uses in buildings, transportation and infrastructure. For an effective guide to where asbestos is typically found please click here