Asbestos is often referred to as a silent killer which can often go unnoticed and can cause unease and concern if you think it could be the present in your building.
If you are a building owner there is increased responsibility as you could be held culpable for the effects of the substance on others. The dangers of the mineral have been thoroughly documented in the 20 years since asbestos was banned from use in UK construction.
East Midlands Roofing Solutions‘ services include the removal of asbestos from roofing across Nottingham. For our latest blog, we are going to identify the dangers of asbestos and why it needs removing roofs.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a term that refers to a naturally occurring mineral product that is resistant to chemical and thermal degradation, are resistant to fire and electricity plus it has strong fibres and can be woven and used as a binding agent.
Asbestos can be separated into two groups –
Serpentine which consists of Chrysotile (white) asbestos and Amphiboles which contains Amosite/Grunerite and Crocidolite asbestos.
There are also three other types of Amphiboles, anthophyllite, actinolite and tremolite, which have no commercial use, meaning they are rarely mined. The amphiboles are considered more harmful than serpentines because of the shape and formation of the fibres plus there is more evidence linking them with asbestos-related deaths.
Having said this, all types of asbestos need to be treated with caution with the correct protocol followed when removing products that contain the substance, especially when you are unsure of the quantities present.
What are the Health Risks of Asbestos?
Despite being banned for 20 years, asbestos is still a very real and genuine threat that is not exclusive to tradesmen and removal workers. It can also pose a threat for those who work in the building and other people in the surrounding areas. Risks occur when damage, fire or disturbance to the products cause the asbestos fibres to become loose and potentially airborne. When inhaled, these tiny fibres do not decompose and remain permanently lodged in the lungs, leading to fatal diseases as the body attempts to fight these alien fragments.
Initially, it causes soreness, inflammation and infection which could lead to any of the diseases listed below –
- Lung Cancer
- Pleural Thickening
The Use of Asbestos Cement in Roofing
Because of its increased thermal qualities and the fact it is extremely fire retardant, its no surprise that asbestos was used for roofing and insulation in the 20th century.
Cement sheets are one of the most common roofing products that the mineral is found in, with a number of building across the UK still having an asbestos cement sheet roof. The issue with these roof sheets is that they deteriorate with age and become more brittle creating a greater risk of mineral fibres becoming exposed and loose which puts people at risk. The removal of Asbestos cement is typically Non-notifiable work which means it cannot be done without guidance from the local authority or HSE. This is because the asbestos mineral fibres being used are Chrysotile asbestos, which, according to industry statistics, poses a lower risk than amphiboles asbestos. They also account for roughly 10% of the sheet’s composition which means that the sheets are not considered to be as much of a priority risk to human health.
It is also worth mentioning that if the asbestos cement sheets are not weathered then they will be considered a greater risk because of the additional damaging effects caused by weathering erosion of the sheets. As they are exposed to the elements, the sheets will face the risk of degradation from frost, moisture, UV rays and acid rain which leaves larger areas of the asbestos fibres unprotected.
Removing Asbestos Cement Sheets
If the roofing sheets are in bad condition, meaning the asbestos fibres are exposed then the safest course of action will be to remove and dispose of the existing asbestos cement sheets and replace them with a safe and modern flat roof.
You will need to take a number of different aspects into consideration when this work is undertaken to guarantee the health and safety of anyone in the building. What we can promise, is that our removal team will cause minimal disruption to your day-to-day activities plus our workers will always use the correct equipment and wear the right PPE for the task.
Get in Touch for a No-Obligation Quote
If you are looking to have asbestos removed from your building in Nottingham, contact East Midlands Roofing Solutions for a no-obligation quote.