Textured Coatings, The Hidden Health Hazard
Posted on Monday 7th December 2015 by Graham
Many family homes have a 50% chance of harbouring asbestos, which could be lethal if disturbed.
The use of asbestos in properties has been common place for many, many years and it was not until 1999 that a total ban was imposed. Despite this ban exposure to asbestos is still a common occurrence, especially amongst the older properties.
In past Blog posts we have looked at the many varying places you could find ACMs (Asbestos Containing Materials) and textured coatings is one of them, this is where we want to focus on in this blog post.
Asbestos in Textured Coatings
Textured coatings were used to make decorative finishes on both ceilings and walls, common trade names you may recognise include ‘Artex’, 'Wondertex', 'Suretex' Etc.
Exactly how dangerous are these?
Recent research in the UK does indicate that the presence of asbestos texturing in a property presents a relatively low exposure risk, provided of course the materials are intact and in a good state of repair.
The danger lies when these surfaces and products are in a poor state of repair and beginning to crumble. The health risks also increase when these surfaces are being prepared for decoration, such as sanding down. If you had to work on these products many years ago you are at an even greater risk as many workers were asked to add raw loose asbestos fibres to the paint or texturing without knowing the possible dangers and also without the proper protective equipment.
Work on any type of asbestos can be dangerous of course. However, work on textured coatings can be carried out by non-licensed workers who are appropriately trained (link to training course). If the coating is in a good state of repair then this work would generally not need to be notified.
However, if the work is likely to cause significant break up and deterioration of the asbestos containing material then notification would be required.
One major point to note here is that every employer must make sure that anyone who is liable to disturb asbestos while carrying out their normal work, or who supervises those employees, gets the correct level of information, instruction and training so that they can work safely and competently without risk to themselves or others.
Some key points when dealing with textured coatings are:
- Always get the textured coating sampled to see if it contains asbestos
- Asbestos-cement or textured coating should never be drilled
- It should never be scraped
- Never dry-sand textured coatings
You are at risk of releasing asbestos fibres into the air.
Whatever the situation, before you do anything, familiarise yourself with legislation: hse.gov.uk/asbestos - the rules are different for homeowners and contractors.
Don't forget you have the chance to win yourself an iPad when training with us before Christmas, more details here.
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