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Asbestos Removal Nottingham
Here’s an easy to understand breakdown of what asbestos is…
What we know as “asbestos” is actually an umbrella term for a number of separate, but closely related materials. The technical term for these is “Asbestiform habit silicate minerals”. That sounds quite alien and difficult to understand at first glance, but if we break down the technical name, it becomes very easy to understand more about asbestos. Asbestos removal Nottingham, Derby and Leicester gets carried out by our team on a weekly basis, so we’re very knowledgeable on the topic.
1. Asbestiform, where its name derives from, is a word which describes the structure of a material where it is made up of many small strands which stick together to form longer strands, but they can be easily broken apart.
You may be familiar with the horn of a Rhino which is actually made up of the same material as hair, but it is squashed together to form a larger, more solid material. The over all thing – the horn – is different from the hair on our heads, but the constituent parts are the same.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestiform)
2. Habit. In this context, the word habit refers to the shape of a particular material. Asbestiform habit therefore means ‘a stranded shape made up of lots and lots of much smaller strands’.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_habit)
3. Silicate. This is a term from the world of chemistry which tells us what atoms in particular make up the substance; in this case the elements Silicon and Oxygen. An element is like an individual building block in chemistry, it is a pure substance of just one particular atom. When two or more elements are combined, they make a compound. Silicate is a compound. There may be one or two other elements in some different silicates such as aluminium or potassium, but they all have the silicon and oxygen content in common.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicate)
4. Mineral. A mineral is something in nature which isn’t either an animal or a plant – yes, that sounds very simple indeed, but it is important to start with a clear, basic understanding.
Very often people will use the word “rock” instead of mineral because on the surface of it, they share many characteristics: they are neither animal or plant, and they are hard. But – and this is very important – rocks are items which can be made up from made different combinations of minerals, whilst a mineral is a pure form of a particular kind of rock.
You may well have seen pictures of sand seen through a microscope and the many different shapes and colours (some may even be translucent) of the grains of sand are a good example of the ingredients of rock. In fact sandstone is exactly that: sand which has been pressed together under very high pressure and temperature to form a sold block.
If you look at table salt under a microscope, you will find that all the grains are the same colour. Salt is a mineral, a compound made up of the two elements sodium, and chloride.
Well, now that we have looked at the four words which make up the technical description of asbestos, we can see that “Asbestiform habit silicate minerals” simply means “a material made up of a combination of silicon and oxygen which has been arranged in such a way that it forms tiny strands which clump together to form larger strands”
As mentioned previously, there are a few different types of asbestos, the most common ones to be used in the making of things are:
1. White (chrysotile) “Serpentine class”
2. Brown (amosite) “Amphibole class”
3. Blue (crocidolite) “Amphibole class”
The words in the brackets are the technical names for that particular form of asbestos. You will notice that two more identifying description have been introduced: the “classes” of asbestos. These designations are very important when talking about the effect they can have on the human body.
SERPENTINE. A bit of a poetic way of stating that the asbestos looks like cotton thread when seen under a microscope.
Serpentine means that these threads are long and bendy, and just like cotton, serpentine class white asbestos can, and was, woven into flexible sheets for industry, just as cotton is woven into sheets for making clothes.
Scientific evidence suggests that the human body can get rid of serpentine asbestos from within itself due to the shape of the material being such that the body’s waste disposal systems can grab hold of it more easily than other sorts of asbestos.
This of course does NOT mean that it is safe to breath in the dust of white asbestos, but rather it is less bad for you than brown and blue asbestos. Serpentine class asbestos is the most common form to have been used.
AMPHIBOLE. This is a technical term meaning that the material is made up of short, stiff rods.
Imagine a stick made up of lots of needles stuck together. Amphibole class asbestos is very dangerous as the tiny stiff rods stuck very easily in to your skin, and more dangerously, into your lungs if you breath in the dust.
The body’s waste collection systems have a very hard time dealing with this form of asbestos, and actually may not be able to remove it at all in many cases. Imagine a lung full of tiny needles which can’t be removed: very bad for you indeed.
A quick history of asbestos
There are certain qualities of asbestos which has made it very useful in the past. The useful qualities include it’s strength, fireproof-ness, heatproof-ness, its ability to act as an electrical insulator, and perhaps most important of all, it was cheap.
It was used for such things as lagging water pipes, providing electrical insulation in things like electric heaters and stove hobs, and it was also mixed in with things like cement to lend its strength properties to whatever was being made from the cement: examples included concrete walls in pre-fab style houses, and of course the common corrugated shed roof.
Asbestos was also used in the clutches and brakes of motorbikes, cars, vans, and lorries due to its heat-resistant properties.
Archaeologists can show that asbestos has been mind out of the earth by man for at least 4,000 years, but it’s use wasn’t widespread, it was basically used in the areas it was mined. Finland, Russia, and China were places it was mined in ancient times.
When the industrial revolution happened throughout the 1800s, and the mining of asbestos increased dramatically thanks to the new machines which made it quick and easy to do, the use of asbestos obviously increased, but the places where it was used increased as well. It became very common almost everywhere. This, as we now know, had some disastrous consequences.
Why is asbestos bad for our health?
We now know that if a person spends time in a place where asbestos dust is in the air, those people are at a much higher risk of getting lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium. The mesothelium is a thin sack made of a skin-like material which covers many of the body’s internal organs. Asbestosis is an incurable disease where the lungs are inflamed (made red-raw) and scarred from the fibres of the asbestos repeatedly stabbing the lung from the inside.
The first reported case of asbestosis was in 1924 when Nellie Kershaw died aged just 33. Nellie lived and worked in Rochdale, near Manchester. She worked for the company Turner Brothers Asbestos where she spun asbestos fibres in to yarn – a skill she had learnt in her previous job of weaving cotton fibres in to yarn.
\After Nellie fell ill and was signed off work sick, her employers did nothing to help either financially or any other way. Repeated requests for help from herself and others were ignored by Turner Brothers Asbestos. The company has told their solicitor that they didn’t want to give any one the idea that they were helping through a sense of guilt over the situation because that might make them liable for huge financial obligations and penalties.
Dr William Edmund Cooke who worked at both Wigan Infirmary and Leigh Infirmary as a specialist in the causes of diseases carried out a thorough examination of Nellie’s lungs and his findings showed that Nellie’s death was caused by the result of inhaling asbestos dust, and there was no doubt about it because her lungs had a lot of asbestos fibres embedded in them.
It was absolute proof that asbestos was bad for people’s health. This finding prompted more investigation in to the disease, and it was found that more than two-thirds of people who worked with asbestos long term (20 years or more) had developed asbestosis.
Since then, legal restrictions on the production and use of asbestosis have increased, and although it is still mined and used in certain places and industries, it is effectively an industry which has disappeared.
Can asbestos be disposed of?
Yes! After reading how bad it is for health, it’s a relief to know that asbestos can be effectively disposed of, and safely destroyed.
How can asbestos be disposed of?
There are two main ways it can be disposed of. The first way, which is also the cheapest and most common way is to simply bury it in specially assigned landfill sites. This may sound careless, but don’t forget – asbestos is a naturally occurring material and is found underground in many places around the world, so we know that it can be kept safely in landfill.
Very often it is required that any asbestos sent to these special sites must be bagged up in thick plastic bags, and often double bagged to stop any potential dust from spreading whilst be transported. The bags also help to minimise exposure to anyone accidentally digging up the special landfill site in the future, if records of its location are lost.
Another way to dispose of asbestos is actually to transform it in to glass, or in to ceramic tiles. This is possible because of the chemical make-up of asbestos – the “silicates”.
These silicates don’t have to stay as bundled strands (asbestiform), they can be heated up and “vitrified” (which means to be melted to make glass) which can be used to make different sorts of glass like windows, glass oven ware (Pyrex), and even fibre optics which are used to provide super-fast broadband internet.
To make this silicate glass, the asbestos is placed in to special ovens and heated up to temperatures over 1,250 degrees Celsius (about 2280 degrees Fahrenheit). As a comparison, steel melts at about 1,370 degrees Celsius (2,500 degrees Fahrenheit).
A similar process – heating up to melting point – but with different ingredients, is used to make ceramic tiles and bricks.
What does the law have to say about asbestos?
“It is illegal to supply any article containing asbestos, whether for money, or free of charge.”
It is illegal to do anything but properly dispose of (or control, more on this coming up) asbestos. You could be prosecuted if you even gave it away. But because it used to be widely used, we still have to keep an eye out for it in case it pops up in old buildings or old cars.
White asbestos, the most common and least harmful type, is most likely to be found in older buildings which are being renovated or knocked down. If they are being knocked down, then the asbestos will be bagged up and buried in a specially designated landfill site as written about earlier. If asbestos is found in a building which is being renovated, then it isn’t always necessary to remove it, it may actually be impossible to remove it in many cases. In these situations, the law says that ways to minimise any potential spread of the harmful dust must be used.
This could be enclosing the asbestos panels or asbestos-containing cement in protective boxes, perhaps being covered by plasterboard, or it might even be as simple as painting the material – the paint will form a binding skin which will trap the dust. To do this you do not need to have a license to work on your own property, but the law states you should notify the buildings department of your local council so a record can be made of the risk for future benefit.
It is highly recommended that asbestos professionals are employed to deal with any found in a private property. This is because a specialist company will have all the necessary tools and equipment to cleanly and efficiently minimise or completely solve the problem altogether.
Any work involving asbestos which needs to be carried out on public buildings, or private buildings which have public access (shops, for example) needs by law to be carried out by licensed companies. This isn’t just for the expertise and experience they have, but also for administrative reasons so that a paper trail can be shown of what work was done, by whom, when it was done, what was involved, and how the asbestos was disposed of.
Remember the sad tale of Nellie Kershaw: Turner Brothers Asbestos company denied any involvement in her painful death, and they did all they could to not be held responsible. Well this injustice is now seen for what it was and legal safeguards exists to protect us all from future problems.
The mandatory requirement for licensed professional companies to deal with asbestos in public places and buildings is there to make sure everything is accountable and most of all SAFE!
Another guideline you can use is the Nottingham City Council who have to play their part in solving the dangerous problem that is asbestos. They supply information and it’s worth a read if you want to know more than what we’ve supplied here: http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/recycling-and-disposing-of-waste/how-to-recycle-or-dispose-of-common-waste-items/asbestos
Something we feel we have to cover before ending this part of the website is… Asbestos Garage Removal Nottingham. We get plenty of questions each week about asbestos in people’s garages and sheds (actually, the amount of questions is an alarming amount and that’s why we write so much online, as a reference to its dangers and what it is etc.).
Often people are just enquiring about asbestos removal cost in terms of money, rather than the cost it could be to them or their families lives! We think a lot of people realise asbestos is dangerous, but not how dangerous it actually is…
Your kid might run into your garage one day, it’s infested with asbestos and, well, it’s not going to be a good situation is it?
So really, when it comes to asbestos concerns, we feel we aren’t being disingenuous by saying: book an asbestos removal survey! At the worst, you give some money to guys like us who know what they’re doing and want you to be safe. At best, you remove a problem that can cause serious, serious harm to you and your family. Especially if the problem is stemming from your garage which you might not have eyes on when kids are running around and exploring.
And who you gonna call? It’s going to need to be done by a professional, so you might as well call an asbestos professional! Please don’t consider going anywhere near the asbestos unless you are a trained pro – it’s not worth considering. Someone once asked us “can I remove asbestos roof myself”, definitely do not try to tackle a whole roof, that is not going to end well. Call in the pros!
So yes, consider the costs to your health as opposed to just the monetary costs, they’re always going to be there for any service you use.
We also get asked a lot about asbestos garage removal cost and it’s hard to give an average asbestos removal cost over the phone without seeing what we’re dealing with, especially as garages and sheds vary so much in size. We’ve arrived to “small” garages that you could fit a small nursery in!
So please excuse us that we can’t give exact estimates on this page of the website. We could try, but we don’t think it would be doing you a service. Basically, we could under quote the price on the phone and get to your property and let you know it’s going to be a whole lot higher, which could be a problem for you, or we could massively overprice the job and risk you not hiring us or any other asbestos disposal company and therefore risk you getting affected by the asbestos!
None of those outcomes sound ideal to us so, instead of giving average prices because of the reasons above, we’ve decided to just say: if you have asbestos problems… call us and we will be able to assist you from there as best as we can with no short cuts or funny business. We want you to be safe as much as we want to be earning our living. It’s much more gratifying when our work is meaningful and asbestos removal would certainly fit into that category, so please call us if you have any asbestos issues!
Contact us if you want to hire us for our asbestos removal services. Call through to our on-call team today at 07938 720424.
We also provide the following services…
- Emergency Roof repairs
- Thatched roof repairs and new thatched roofs
- Re-roofing services
- Flat roof repairs and replacements
- Fascia’s and soffits
- Chimney repairs
- Slate roof tile replacement
- Gutter repair
- PVC roofing
- Ridge tiles replacement and chimney repair
- Lead work and corrugated roofing
- Garage roof repairs and replacement
- Certified safe asbestos roof removals.