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Asbestos - any advice would help

Discussion in 'off topic' started by rockafellar, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. rockafellar

    rockafellar Can't Remember

    Hello, I'm a bit paranoid by nature and have recently got it into my head that I might have disturbed asbestos within my home. logic tells me that due to lack of public health warnings regarding asbestos within residential buildings I should have nothing to worry about. After doing a little research however, I'm a bit worried. I live in a late sixties/early seventies semi detached property with texture ceilings and some partition walls upstairs. A few months ago I drilled a hole in the ceiling of my living room which has artex on it, so that I could run a cable through it to my router upstairs. The hall ceiling used to have a more subtle texture to it, like a thick paint that had been applied in a way that left little peaks all across it. A few years ago I scraped all this off using a scraper. Research has also led to me to being aware that asbestos was also used in loft insulation. I always thought it was fibreglass ( it may well be) and have disturbed it quite a few times whilst organising the attic space.
    Logic also tells me that the amount of diy/building work that is carried out within residential homes each and every day would lead to a more widespread awareness if the problem is as bad as all that.

    I'm thinking of sending some samples off for my own piece of mind and wondered whether anybody here has any kind of experience/education in this field that might help put my mind at rest.

    Thanks for any help offered.
  2. cutting42

    cutting42 Arrived at B4 Hacker Erg \o/

  3. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

  4. RichardH

    RichardH Bodging pleb

    With the fire in our house they had to test for asbestos before they would do any clearance work. Apparently there is a #theoretical# risk that there is asbestos in Artex up to that applied in 2000.
    The reason being not that it was still being made with asbestos in it up to that year, but there might have been old stock around, buiilders keeping old products etc etc.

    The risk to normal householders is apparently very very small, even if you dril lthe odd hole in the ceiling. However a friend sold his dad's house recently and this possibility came up on the survey, so he had to have it tested - again he was clear.

    So it might be worth having the tests done to set your mind at rest, and to preempt any queries if you ever come to sell up.
  5. Pete MB&D

    Pete MB&D Pete Maddex, the one and only!


    Asbestos was used in artex, floor tiles the glue for them and lots of things, so I would get it checked.

  6. Mescalito

    Mescalito pfm Member

    If the Artex is more than 25 years old, it probably contains white asbestos.

  7. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    I skimmed my artexed walls as removal was possibly dangerous.
  8. mudlark

    mudlark nearly half a clue

    your environmental health officer might be able to help. They should have some names of good testers at least.
  9. NeilK

    NeilK pfm Member

    In addition to the above if undisturbed any asbestos is unlikely to be problematic. Older (~ '30s properties) often used cement/asbestos sheeting as plasterboard is now used - the sort found on roofs and so on. Unless drilled or broken up there's not a great deal of risk. These are often skimmed or strapped and plaster-boarded to 'hide' the asbestos.
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    There's asbestos in artex? Hideous and lethal, that's quite some combo.
  11. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    asbestos undisturbed is minimal risk , its when you try to get rid of it or disturb it that you run into problems.
  12. Cav

    Cav pfm Member

    Is it not only blue asbestos that is dangerous?

    edit: from Cancer UK - There are three main types of asbestos - blue, brown and white. Blue and brown asbestos are strongly linked with mesothelioma. They have been banned since the late 1980's and cannot be imported into the UK. White asbestos is now also thought to be harmful. The use of all asbestos was banned in 1999 in the UK.
  13. DaveKen

    DaveKen Numptie old newbie.

    FWIW my house was built in late 66 early 77 and I know it definitely had quite a bit of white asbestos in it until we got rid of it. Our property has very wide eaves, about 25 to 30cms, the underneath (downwards facing bit) was white asbestos - the stuff that is very brittle, with a surface a bit like that of a golf ball - so it was being used in buildings around that time.
  14. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Hi there,

    I know you're worried, and these things can eat into you if you're not careful, but it helps to keep things in perspective.

    Firstly, even when Asbestos was used in Artex it was a tiny percentage, like one or less! So small I don't know why they bothered adding it. So if you disturb the Artex only a tiny amount of that dust will be asbestos, if the Arxtex has any in at all. Not only would you have to breath in that minuscule amount of Asbestos but it would have to get past your nose hairs, past all the mucus linings of your nose and throat and get itself into exactly the right part of your lungs. Such things can happen but it's not likely.

    Or think of it from the other end. For decades plasterers were using raw Artex every day! When they burst open the bags and pour the powder out the dust goes everywhere! then they pour in water and fire a mixer into it. If Artex posed a huge risk old plasterers would be dropping like flies! Ask around, they aren't.

    Although illness can be caused by one Asbestos fibre it takes a bit of doing to get it in the right place. The risk posed by something like Artex is nothing relative to the shipyard workers who cut raw asbestos sheets all day long.

    So yes, technically there a risk from disturbing any asbestos, people do die from short-term exposure, but realistically it's a smaller risk than passive smoking, drinking or a whole raft of other things you might do. You're probably going to die of something else ;0)
  15. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    If its of any consolation Rockefeller, I had a prolonged snowball fight with white asbestos lagging from the school boiler pipes when I was aged 12. We were covered head to toe in it and playing in a thick fog of it for hours. I'm still here nearly 40 yrs later.......
  16. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    You must have crapped yourself when you realised the implications! ;0)
  17. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Well I knew a couple of months later when we did chemistry and all the stuff was on TV about the ship yard workers seeking compensation. I still think one of the four of us is going to get it. A friend of mine died of it last year- he was teacher.
  18. BlueEyes

    BlueEyes pfm Member

    FWIW Dec, there was a case involving such a "snowball" fight by persons messing around with the stuff and they, successfully, recovered at litigation when, subsequently, they suffered as a result of such exposure although I would rather not have the money or the right of action.

    Clinicians consider mesothelioma right up there with motor neuron disease as not the way they would want to die.
  19. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    It's a very nasty death indeed but, like smoking it's not the one-off exposure that kills you unless you are massively unlucky. As others have said the risk is detached fibres. You can cut it and drill it safely, the fix is to slather it in wallpaper paste first so the fibres get caught up. Things like garage roofs made of the stuff present no risk at all unless disturbed. By all means you could test your ceiling but I can guess the (negative) result. As others have said there is very little in there and it's all bound up in cement. As to why it's only there at 1%, because it's good stuff and the fibres hold the cement together as a composite. It's a brilliant material, or it would be if it weren't so hazardous. Finally I doubt very much your loft insulation contains any, it will be Rockwool or good old fibreglass. Soffits, like garages, are a favourite use point but again, you aren't drilling them.
  20. Pete the Feet

    Pete the Feet pfm Member

    Chrysotile was the predominant asbestos used in Artex and if left well alone will present no hazard. As someone said get it analysed for your own peace of mind and skim over it if it worries you. A lick of paint is usually sufficient on most asbestos board surfaces to keep it under control.
    Asbestos boarding was widely used on the internal walls of garages attached to dwellings, I had ours proffesionally removed.
    I've known buildings constructed in the mid 80's that have had asbestos boards used on the fascias.

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