fbpx

What should the recent death of a lady with asbestos-linked cancer teach us about asbestos?

Acorn offers a comprehensive suite of asbestos consultancy services from asbestos air testing and asbestos surveys to removal management, and UKATA accredited training. We solve all your asbestos challenges swiftly to save you time, costs and stress.

Future-proof your business today, with innovative asbestos management, compliant to the most extensive of regulations.

Secure a Fast, No Obligation Quote Today

Let us know what asbestos support you need, and our expert team will promptly send you a free, no-fuss quote tailored to your requirements!

Last year, a Northampton woman died after a short battle with cancer that could have been caused by asbestos. It was an out-of-the-blue illness that was sudden – but could it have been due to asbestos exposure at home or workplace?

Asbestos has serious risks

Forget what you think you know about asbestos. It’s a pretty historic substance, which was once lauded as a versatile, strong and heat-resistant building material, but has been linked to the cause of mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer and asbestosis. The material was used widely in construction and can still be present in buildings built or refurbished before the year 2000. The worrying thing is that it can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma symptoms to develop.

Consider occupations of yourself, friends, and family

The lady who had potential asbestos-linked cancer also worked as a gas pipe fitter, one of many occupations where workers can come into contact with asbestos at some point. The UK Government website has a handy list of occupations where tradesmen might be exposed to asbestos. However, mesothelioma does not just reserve itself for tradesmen and women: the Institute of Cancer Research and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine released a report in 2009 which revealed suffers of the disease were exposed to “environmental asbestos exposure”, meaning the “normal occupation and weathering” of buildings. The reach of asbestos, it seems, is a wide one.

It’s vital to check your property

Because of its wide use in construction – both residential and commercial – it can be found almost anywhere in your property, from decorative ceilings and ceiling tiles, to asbestos cement water tanks and downpipes. Most commonly it was used as “AIB” or “Asbestos Insulating Board”, and can be found in the places around the home where insulation would sit – walls, lofts, and ceilings, and it is even in the Houses of Parliament.

It can be removed from your property by licensed contractors who will safely get rid of the material. These licensed workers are an unfortunate necessity as asbestos shouldn’t be disturbed – this is when it becomes dangerous – and it also has to be handled in a certain way. Different asbestos products also require different types of handling as they pose different levels of risk. For example, asbestos pipe insulation is a lot more dangerous than asbestos cement.

What are the key things to remember?

Asbestos related cancer is responsible for around 5,000 deaths per year. Although asbestos is a dangerous substance, it only becomes a hazard when it’s disturbed. In the ideal world, safe removal of all asbestos would be the best solution, however this is impracticable to do. The cost of asbestos removal and then further reinstatement / replacement of removed items costs can be significate. What should be remembered is that asbestos only becomes a hazard when it’s disturbed. What should be implemented is safe management of the asbestos materials to prevent damage and disturbance. This will include regular condition checks on the materials, adding protection (sealing or over boarding) where required and ensuring people now where the asbestos materials are located.

If you need to disturb asbestos in your house or even your place of work, you can contact our team of asbestos specialists by clicking here.

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

More Asbestos Articles

Blog 4 - house Acorn Jan 2020 Low Res-96

Common asbestos materials in domestic properties

When people think about asbestos, they often associate it with larger buildings such as warehouses, schools, hospitals and factories. Often, people do not think about asbestos when it comes to homes, but asbestos was heavily used in parts of the domestic market and used on large scales within local authority homes. In this blog, we …

Read MoreCommon asbestos materials in domestic properties

hot conditions

Working with asbestos in hot conditions

You don’t normally think of the combination of asbestos and heat as a concern. Asbestos is resistant to heat – that is one of the reasons it was used in building projects. However, in this blog, we are not talking about the use of asbestos, we are talking about asbestos removal projects and how heat …

Read MoreWorking with asbestos in hot conditions

listed building

Asbestos and Listed Buildings

Buildings of historic importance, that were constructed centuries ago, were not built with asbestos. Whether you’re talking about castles or smaller old listed properties they were built before we started using asbestos in construction. What we will consider in this blog is what may have happened to those buildings after their original construction. In short, …

Read MoreAsbestos and Listed Buildings

Asbestos disposal

Asbestos disposal – New and exciting methods

In this blog, we are talking about some exciting developments with regards to the disposal of asbestos. We recently went to a conference in Birmingham which was attended by lots of people from our industry. Delegates shared new techniques, best practice and innovations and there were a lot of interesting seminars. One of the seminars, …

Read MoreAsbestos disposal – New and exciting methods

Label asbestos

Do you need to label asbestos?

As an experienced multi-disciplined asbestos consultancy we are regularly asked by clients if they need to label their asbestos. There is a misconception that asbestos has to be labelled but this is not the case. You don’t actually have to label asbestos but you do have to manage it. In my mind, it is good …

Read MoreDo you need to label asbestos?

PVA asbestos

PVA as an encapsulant

In this blog we are talking about PVA as an encapsulant of asbestos. PVA stands for Polyvinyl Acetate and is a glue-like substance, best known as a wood glue, white glue or school glue. It is a safe glue and doesn’t burn your skin. It is easily washable and is water based. It used to …

Read MorePVA as an encapsulant

Non licensed contractor

What you need to know about non-licensed asbestos contractors?

We recently had a query from one of our clients that we wanted to share with you in this blog. They are a contractor working in the commercial and retail sectors and occasionally they have to remove bolts from floors which may contain asbestos. Their query was about wearing the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) and RPE (respiratory protective equipment) to carry out the work safely. …

Read MoreWhat you need to know about non-licensed asbestos contractors?

Asbestos Emergencies

Asbestos emergencies – what to do?

In this blog we will discuss asbestos and emergency situations. We will look at what can go wrong, who can be affected and how to control and minimise risks from those situations. Who is at risk? To begin with we need to consider who is at risk of coming into contact with asbestos. It comes down to a list of people …

Read MoreAsbestos emergencies – what to do?

Asbestos Insulating Board

Asbestos insulating boards and the problems with their removal

Asbestos insulating boards are boards that have a high asbestos content usually containing Amosite (Brown) and can also contain Chrysotile (White) asbestos. When you look at an unpainted board you can see the asbestos fibres. The boards can be easily damaged and can easily release asbestos fibres. They tend to be off white or grey …

Read MoreAsbestos insulating boards and the problems with their removal

What does asbestos look like

What is asbestos?

This is a question we get asked a lot. But, for the purposes of this blog, we think it is worth exploring what asbestos isn’t. Firstly, there is a big misconception that asbestos is man-made, but that’s not the case. The shortest and easiest way to describe asbestos is that it is a mineral which …

Read MoreWhat is asbestos?