Concerned that blocked chimney ventilation contains asbestos

13 Jan 2021
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United Kingdom

Dear Forum,

It is my first time posting and I am hoping I can get some advice as I am a worried tenant and I would like to seek knowledge from those in the building industry.

The flat we are renting had a chimney in the past which was covered (by concrete i believe) and there is a vent. I noticed that my son, who had his table close to the vent, would cough shortly after being in close proximity to the vent. So i thought maybe dust had clogged the ventilation and decided to remove the vent to clean it. However, upon opening it, I found a very rough hole and it seems like the material was insulated with a layer of a dark grey fibrous material. I am terrified this could be asbestos as we would all have been exposed to it. I have sent a sample for testing and I have contacted our landlord and the surveyor who has said the ventilation was installed properly but that if im concerned they can arrange asbestos testing.
so my question to you is, is this the way its supposed to look or is this a job poorly done? If it contained asbestos, or other hazardous insulating fibres, would it not have to be blocked in some way to ensure it doesnt escape and enter our flat?

i would highly appreciate any advice on this as I am very anxious currently.
thank you in advance
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It does not look like asbestos.

Ask your landlord to have it tested in an accredited laboratory, and provide you with the written report. He is obligated to do this unless he already has a test report he can provide you with.

In the meantime, tape the vent - a sheet of A4 paper will do taped to the wall
Tend to agree with "woody" above, does not look like any common forms of Asbestos material.

Problem is that Asbestos was used in thousands of products.

A temporary [simple] covering will assist, until you get the results back form your sample.

As an aside, the soot in the flue looks to be soft? is it still powdery? If so it may??? be soot particles that are making your son sneeze???

Is there an air flow at the entrance to this flue vent? if so is it a downward [air flow into the room] or up ward [the reverse of the foregoing??]

Thank you so much Woody and KengMac for your prompt replies
We covered it immediately after seeing the inside. We used gaffe tape.
The landlord will be arranging someone to take a sample for asbestos testing.
Also it is very reassuring to hear that it does not typically look like asbestos. The material was like fibrous, not really powdery. And also as far as I am aware, the chimneys in the whole block have been blocked for a long time. But maybe the remaining soot from back in the day has led to some of the staining. I will try to upload a clearer picture in a moment.

also, it doesnt appear to have any air traveling through it. There was no air coming out when I placed my hand on the vent and when I removed the vent I didnt see any of the fibres moving to indicate of air travelling inwards from my flat. (There doesnt appear to be pressure differences or anything driving air in any direction)

the landlord also explained that the ventilation was correctly installed. Is this the case? To me it looks like someone just took a hammer and banged a hole through the wall.
Is the debris meant to be loose like that? I thought maybe it would need plastering or something to cover it to make it safer? Im just speculating as I dont really know about this stuff but it just doesnt look right to me.

thank you so much for all your help and advice. I will post another photo in a moment
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