Asbestos removal is now considered to be a hazardous task and people should not flout the new legislation relating to its removal. There are a lot of people who have come into contact with asbestos and who have been involved with asbestos removal at one time or another. Plumbers working with asbestos are particularly at risk.
Undisturbed asbestos does not in normal circumstances pose a threat, but when fibres are released into the air and then breathed in by people the danger is very real and the onset of asbestos related diseases can be life threatening.
Asbestos was originally used in its mineral form because it has excellent heat and chemical resistance. In the early days of its use some deadly forms of asbestos was used to line railway carriages for heat insulation and sound dampening.
This type was often in powder form and those people working with it at the time would have mixed the asbestos and spread it onto walls like a plasterer. Many of those people developed asbestos related diseases and were important victims which highlighted the tragedy which has shown itself today
Other uses of this type of asbestos were large pipe insulation and insulation for roofing on larger buildings. Asbestos is mined as it is naturally occurring and its uses have been numerous especially in the late 1940’s and the 50’s but as late as 1985.
Asbestos was considered a real threat and medical opinion swayed the government to pass a law banning its use in the United Kingdom in the year 2000.
In domestic type properties asbestos might be found in a number of places. Often these might be guttering, down pipes to gulley’s and drains, old garage roofs, some internal walls and bath panels, central heating flue pipes and occasionally floors.
Plumbers and allied trades should be aware of the dangers of asbestos and should adhere to the current laws in place. Plumbers are now required to undertake “asbestos awareness” courses and have a documented procedure in place when coming across asbestos in their working environment.
It is important to check the current laws regarding asbestos removal as these regulations change all the time, so this information might be inaccurate.
There are varying forms of asbestos and some types can only be removed by licensed personnel. Always check and be sure what type you are dealing with. If you are unsure you would be wise to check and apply for an asbestos inspection with your local council. This is carried out through the environment protection scheme.
If you are sure that the asbestos is non-licensable you might be able to carry out the work yourself, but you need to take all the relevant precautions. Always wear a mask that is approved for asbestos removal, and keep people from entering the area until the work is complete and is safe.
Try to dampen the asbestos without getting it too wet, and make sure that there are no dangers with applying water to the area such as electrical feeds or connections. Try to remove large areas rather than small pieces and use good quality sealed bags or containers. Do not use any form of vacuum cleaner or blower; you should wipe up with a damp cloth and try not to agitate the small pieces of asbestos generally.
The disposal of the removed asbestos is something you could check with your local council. The asbestos should not be mixed with any ordinary household waste. The local authority will have a designated place for asbestos waste and it might be that their preferred method is to collect from you direct. There may be a charge for this so any trader should factor this into their quotations if asbestos removal is required.