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Asbestos removal: is it always necessary?

27/02/2019
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Asbestos was a popular, versatile building material that was commonly used in a variety of applications right up until the 1980s, and it is only in the past few decades that severe health problems have been liked to it. Particularly when inhaled, the tiny asbestos fibres can become embedded in the lungs, resulting in chronic lung disease and/or lung cancer, often several decades after exposure. The potential danger from asbestos is such that, on discovering that there is asbestos in a property, the knee-jerk reaction is to get it removed as quickly as possible, but this isn’t necessarily the best or safest option. Read on to find out why sometimes more conservative management is preferable, rather than hazardous remediation options such as removal.

Not all asbestos installations are dangerous

Although friable asbestos needs to be removed as a matter of urgency, materials such as undamaged, painted asbestos cement are not usually a hazard: the asbestos is firmly bonded to the cement, with the added safeguard of being covered by paint. Similarly, asbestos roof sheets on a storage shed or similar are unlikely to be hazardous, provided they are in good repair.

Removal may be more dangerous

Fibres are most likely to be released when asbestos is disturbed. Obviously, removal almost invariably causes large numbers of fibres to be released into the air. Whilst precautions are taken during removal, there is still a chance that far larger numbers of fibres will escape than if the asbestos had simply been left alone, or treated conservatively (for example painted over, covered over or walled in).

Save money with professional hazard remediation

Not only can stripping out asbestos unnecessarily potentially result in more fibres being released, but it also costs money! A professional remediation company can advise you of the options available for managing any asbestos in your building, ensuring optimal safety for occupants at the same time as making sure money isn’t wasted on desperate removal attempts without good cause. Correctly, professionally managed asbestos in buildings can be either removed or treated so that it presents minimal risk to building users. Contact us to find out more.

Photo: Danger Asbestos by Lincolnian (Brian) licensed under Creative Commons 4.0
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