What is Asbestos and Where is Asbestos Found?

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There are currently around 4500
asbestos related deaths every year.

Asbestos is the term used for the fibrous forms of several naturally occurring minerals, which are found throughout the world.

The use of all asbestos containing materials was not banned until 1999. This means asbestos can be present in any building (houses, factories, offices, schools and hospitals etc.) that was built, or refurbished, before the year 2000.  In the UK, asbestos is now the largest single cause of occupational ill health and every week an average of 20 tradesmen die from exposure to asbestos. 

As asbestos could affect a significant number of work places (estimated at around 2 million buildings) and because it is often mixed with another material, it’s hard to know if you’re working with it or not.  It’s not easy to tell asbestos from how it looks, and it needs to be properly identified in a specialist laboratory.


Asbestos is found in many products:

  • Asbestos was used as packing between floors and in partition walls.
  • Sprayed (limpet) asbestos on structural beams and girders.
  • Lagging on pipework, boilers, calorifiers, heat exchanges etc.
  • Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) – Ceiling tiles, partition walls, service duct covers, fire breaks, heater cupboards, door panels, lift shaft lining, fire surrounds, soffits etc.
  • Asbestos Cement Products such as roof and wall cladding, bath panels, boiler and incinerator flues, gutters, rainwater pipes, water tanks etc.
  • Other products such as floor tiles, mastics, sealants, rope seals and gaskets, millboard, cloth (fire blankets etc.), bituminous products (roofing felt etc.) and toilet cisterns.


Asbestos materials in good condition are safe unless asbestos fibres become airborne, which happens when they are damaged.



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