Asbestos advice

27 Aug 2003
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United Kingdom
I have a Marley concrete garage (the self-assembly type where wall panels are slotted between concrete posts). The roof is made of a thin corrugated material which I strongly suspect is some asbestos-cement product. The garage is probably 40 years old or more (the house was built in the mid-50's, without a garage, and when I moved in 17 years ago the garage was there, and looking none too new).

I want to remove the garage, and I'm happy that I can do most of the work myself, but I'm worried about the roof. Is it likely/probably/possibly an asbestos containing material? Is it stable enough that I can go ahead and D-I-M with just a nuisance dust mask, or should I call in a proper contractor to take the roof away?
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soak it with water, wear good mask, gloves and goggles, and carefully remove each bit, only break where you HAVE to, and avoid creating much dust ie cutting snapping ect as its outside you dont realy need to worry, if it was internal it would be diffrent matter....
You are only a risk if you disturb it by drilling, sawing or cutting it. If asbestos is disturbed the fibres will be released into the air and you cannot dispose of it by putting it in the bin. Asbestos products pose no threat to health if they are left alone.Your local council should be contacted and arrangements made for the asbestos to be taken to a licensed tip.
See this for more advice.
I am sure that read somewhere that asbestos should be "double bagged"

i.e. put asbestos in polythene bag seal it and then bag and seal this bag, may have been a local government bylaw.?

Where do you intend to dispose of it? It may be worth checking with your local council, they will be able to advise you and charge some money no doubt.
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nstreet said:
I am sure that read somewhere that asbestos should be "double bagged"

Blue and brown asbestos are more dangerous than white so have to be double bagged and with a label quoting type of abestos,date/time etc...
nstreet said:
Where do you intend to dispose of it? It may be worth checking with your local council, they will be able to advise you and charge some money no doubt.

I intend to have the council take all the sheets away. They will do 6 for free. There are 12 on the garage - I can't remember what they wanted per sheet for the others.....
ban-all-sheds said:
I intend to have the council take all the sheets away. They will do 6 for free. There are 12 on the garage - I can't remember what they wanted per sheet for the others.....

Well,they could take 6 sheets for free now and give them a couple more weeks for the others 6 sheets to be taken free again :eek:
There is a great deal of myth and misunderstanding regarding asbestos one that seems to perpetuate (and is even perpetuated on the site masona provides a link to) is the relative risks posed by Blue, Brown and White asbestos (or more properly crocidolite, amosite and chrysotile (and not chrysolite as stated on the aforementioned website, chrysolite is a mineral, but it is not asbestos).

In the dim and distant past when we began to realise that asbestos was causing health problems one of the chaps that was asked to investigate and report to the govenment was a Professor Peto. The laws that were subsequently enacted to ensure safety were largely based on his recommendations. Peto is still actively researching into the causes and effects of asbestos on health and is probably the worlds leading authority on the subject.

The diseases that were thought to be caused by asbestos back then were primarilly lung cancer and asbestosis, and a greater degree of exposure was thought to increase the risk of developing these diseases. Hence all of the guidance was aimed at reducing the exposure of those thought to be at greatest risk, those who worked with asbestos. Peto anticipated a drop in the number of deaths as a result of those new laws. At that time chrysotile was thought to be less risky becuase the fibres are curly (where the others a straight) and were thought to be less easy to inhale into the lungs.

However, about 10 years ago Peto published a new and frankly shocking study which demonstrated that a disease called mesothlioma (which is thought to be caused only by asbestos) had become the most prolific cancer in men in Britain. Not only that, but the people most likely to develop it were construction workers. Furthermore Peto concluded that the degree of exposure was of little relevance, what was significant was the time that had elapsed since exposure took place. In short it takes only one fibre to cause mesothelioma a cancer for which there is no cure and which is invariably fatal. However, it takes a period of about 20 years or so for the disease to develop and the risk is as great for all types of asbestos. Because of this report the new CAWR Regulations were brought into force and are aimed at reducing the number of construction workers who are inadertantly suffer occasional low levels of exposure.

However, chrysotile was predominantly used in products like thermoplastic floor tiles or asbestos cement. Because the fibres are bound into these products the chances of fibres being released are less than for friable materials like insulation.

So, in a nutshell blue, brown and white asbestos are all equally dangerous and the risks vary only with the type of material containing the asbestos and its condition.

Don't take my word for it. Do a search for Professor Sir Richard Peto and you will no doubt find out everything you ever wanted to know about asbestos and its health risks.
Perhaps this isn't very appropriate with all the safety concerns that are now associated with asbestos, but I believe my grandfather worked in an asbestos processing plant, which milled, drilled, cut etc. all of his life, from 14 (I think!) to his late 50's. He died aged 87 and had no health complaints, which I am aware of. Does anybody know, is this an extreme exception or does it just affect some people. I'm asking as I have little or no experience of this product myself and noted how seriously some people seem to take removal and disposal of the substance nowadays.
(Double bagging etc.)
BR said:
Does anybody know, is this an extreme exception or does it just affect some people.
I think it a case of either you suffer or you don't.My previous next door neighbour was a heavy chain smoker and toward the last 10 years of his life,he was smoking 50 to 60 cigarette a day !!! He died in the house fire causes by falling asleep while smoking , he was 98 years of age !! and yet you hear people die in the mid-forty with lung cancer by smoking.Yes you're properly right it only effect some people but I don't know.
So getting back to your question if it effect some people from suffering then safety must come into account.In general I think it better to be safe than sorry.
It's worth getting it checked out by your local council. It may not be a big job, but is it worth taking the risk?

My OH is an asbestos engineer and they have to go to great lengths to avoid exposure including regular training and proper masks etc. I know that if it were us he would be proceeding with caution if that is any help to you when you make your decision.
to remove asbestos os illegal and you may end up in court. we take 5 million pound insurance out for removing it. Asbestos will have small hairs in it. superlux is shinny and must not get confused with asbestos. Simply wearing a mask isnt good enough. The room must be sealed off. A 3 stage airlock system must be in place. A grading vacuum must be used and each asbestos sheet taking out must be bagged then bagged again. Once its been removed we must the walk through the airlock in {red} overalls once in the second part take them off and walk into stage 3 and put {blue overalls on} then take a shower. A chemist is then called to carry a test out to make sure no fibres are still active. So as you can see its very stuff. failure to carry these out can result in five years in jail. Its a risky trade but the rewards are unreal! We are the cheapest company who remove asbestos and in 18 weeks i bought a porsche boxster! not a word of a lie.... if you want a good trade get into asbestos BUT be warned i know and my employees know NOTHING is 100% safe, deep down we know we are exposed slighly all we can do is cut the risk level. oh yes i didnt include our masks that cost over £400 each and must be checked regular. Also our oxygen tanks are checked

We are the only that i know of corgi registered gas and esbestos company!
One thing which I don't think has been specifically mentioned here is that asbestos fibres also irritate the skin. So even with oxygen tanks and space suits etc. make sure you aren't handling it with bare hands or brushing it against your legs etc. I worked on a rubbish tip one summer and the guy who used to handle the asbestos was a bit simple and sometimes forgot. His arms would then get a rash like you might get with fibreglass insulation.

It is worrying to see the number of people you see turning up at a rubbish dump with half a dozen smashed up sheets of asbestos in the back of their van kicking dust everywhere. No masks, gloves, nothing.
yes adam you are so right! it gets me annoyed when i see that. oh plumbers comming into plumb center with asbestos all over them brushing off and saying things like who needs to pay all that cash its easy to smash it. I go to great extremes to protect myself while removing it and idiots like that infect me and everyone around them. I know i have esbestosis as before it was illegal i used to handle it all the time. Well i guess i have i am 23 and suspect i have it..
Err - how do you seal off and triple-airlock a room that isn't? - i.e. my garage is outside, there's nothing to seal.

And what is "asbestos"? I don't mean the mineral, I mean once it's incorporated into building materials. If the roof panels of my garage contain asbestos, how dangerous are they in an undisturbed state, how dangerous are they to remove if I just unbolt them and don't saw/smash them, and do they actually count as "asbestos" in terms of the law? When I asked the council about disposal they didn't say anything about it being illegal for me to take the roof down or to take the panels to the tip...

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