Asbestos in brief

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre that was used in building materials and products for its strength, its fire resistance, and its heat and acoustic insulation properties. Asbestos was used throughout the construction process, and has been found to cause serious health issues and fatalities if the asbestos fibres become airborne and are breathed in.

The diseases associated with asbestos exposure tend to manifest themselves anywhere between 10 and 60 years after exposure. Millions of properties in the UK contain asbestos products in one form or another.

Asbestos cement products

Asbestos cement is a material formed from a mixture of Portland cement (85-90%) and, usually, Chrysotile (white asbestos). The material is very strong, durable and fire resistant. Common domestic uses include (but are not limited to)

Asbestos vinyl products

Vinyl flooring in tile or roll form commonly contains asbestos, normally contained within the matrix of the vinyl material itself but sometimes as an asbestos paper backing. Use of these products started mainly in the 1950s and was phased out during the 1980s. Surprisingly, the adhesive used to hold the flooring down also often contains asbestos.

Textured coating (Artex type products)

Artex type products used on ceilings and walls commonly contain between 3-5% Chrysotile (white asbestos). The asbestos was mixed into the product in order to act as an anti-slumping agent (keeping the stipples in place until the product dried)

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