16 Jun 2017
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, made up of long thin fibres, and can release millions of airborne particles if disturbed. Asbestos can prove extremely dangerous if ingested into the body, since it highly increases the risk of various life-threatening illnesses, such as lung cancer, asbestosis (scarring of the lung tissue) and mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the chest and the lining of the abdominal cavity).
Uses and regulations
For a long time, asbestos was commonly used in building materials, mainly for insulation and fireproofing, but also in everyday consumer products. However, since the highly hazardous properties of asbestos have been discovered, European regulations have made it illegal to place asbestos or asbestos-containing products on the market.
Assessment and disposal
In order to address the potential hazards of asbestos, there are specialised asbestos surveyors available who can provide expert advice. These surveyors are trained to identify whether asbestos is present and assess the potential risk for harmful fibres to be released into the air. Based on the assessment, specialists can provide appropriate instructions on how to remove the asbestos. However, please keep in mind that the removal and disposal of asbestos is a complex procedure and must only be done by a specialist.
Such operations can only be carried out in Ireland in strict adherence to the existing regulations, which can be consulted on the websites of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Safety Authority.