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What is asbestos and how does it affect your health?


Asbestos fibre is a natural mineral fibre  that was added and mixed as a strengthening or insulation agent to various other materials such as cement, plastic, plaster or woven into textile and consequently produced over 3000 different types of material products.  No form of asbestos is safe and all asbestos fibres are recognised by the World Health Organisation as a Category A Carcinogen.


Left undisturbed asbestos containing product do not pose any day to day health risk, however if they become damaged or worn they can produce microscopic fibre which are easily breathed into the lungs and become attached to the lining of the lung.  This can cause lung cancer (Carcenoma), cancer of the pleura (Mesothelioma) , fibrosis  (Asbestosis)  and asbestos can also cause throat, stomach and bowel cancer.    


Asbestos was used extensively in the UK throughout the 20th century and was only finally banned in 1999 although certain types were banned in 1985.    


“From Toilet seats to Church Organs”


The most commonly known asbestos materials are asbestos cement based such as corrugated roof sheeting for garden and industrial buildings. However asbestos  fibre  can be found in such domestic items as vinyl floor tiles, texture decorative coatings  (Artex), storage heaters, boilers, electric fires,  insulation, lagging, wall board, ceiling board,  the list is long and can be confusing and it really can be found in toilet seats and cisterns to the insulation inside church organs.  If a material can not be identified as stone, brick, metal, wood or glass, a good rule of thumb is to presume it may contain asbestos.










Asbestos was not banned in the UK until 1999 and can be found in many day to day materials such as:





Ÿ Textured Coating

ŸVinyl Floor Tiles                 

ŸGarage Roofs

ŸBoiler Insulation

ŸFire Insulation Boards



ŸSoil Pipes

ŸSink Pads

ŸToilet Seats & Cisterns

ŸBath Panels

ŸLino Flooring

ŸThermoplastic Flooring

ŸDecorative Plaster

ŸThermal Insulation

ŸPipe Lagging

ŸPlaster Board

ŸCeiling Boards

ŸWall Boards

ŸStorage Heaters

ŸRoofing Tiles

ŸFlash guards


Asbestos is still the UKs biggest industrial killer, and if treated incorrectly can be highly dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with its invisible dust.  Left undisturbed it is quite safe, but do you know what is asbestos and what is safe?