Asbestos Waste Collection

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Asbestos Waste Disposal

If you’ve found asbestos within your business premises, the safest thing to do to protect your staff is to bring in waste collection specialists such as Business Waste to dispose of it for you. We can provide you with qualified, regulated, and approved contractors who can solve your asbestos problem quickly, and for a reasonable cost.

Removing asbestos is a hazardous process, risking the health and well-being of your staff and anyone in the area if it is not carried out correctly. Specialist contractors will first seal off the area containing the hazardous material and then, wearing protective suits, carefully remove and double bag the asbestos waste for disposal.

Asbestos Waste

It is possible that you may discover asbestos waste in an unused area of your premises, or when you move into a new office or building. Whenever you believe you have located asbestos in your business, it is vital for your safety – as well as being a legal requirement – that you get specialist contractors to assess the situation. They will determine the best way to handle the asbestos waste you have found, and ensure that the health and well-being of all involved are maintained at all times.

Asbestos Waste Collection

Should you discover waste asbestos on your site, either loose or bagged, that has not been collected and disposed of, it is crucial that you do not move or disturb it in any way. Undisturbed asbestos is relatively safe, but it is when you touch or move the material that the most dangerous fibres – which can get into the lungs of anyone in the area – are released. Get a quote from Business Waste and within hours you can have specialist waste management disposal contractors on-site to safely remove the asbestos.

What Is Asbestos

Asbestos (from the Greek for inextinguishable) is a general term covering two distinct groups of fibrous minerals. From Serpentine rock is derived Chrysotile or White Asbestos, a magnesium silicate. From Amphiboles rock are derived Amosite or Brown Asbestos and Crocidolite or Blue Asbestos, and of a lesser commercial significance, Anthophyllite, Tremolite and Actinolite.

There are in fact at least 30 types of asbestiform minerals but only the above mentioned are of any industrial significance. All asbestos types have a number of properties that have made them invaluable in many industrial applications.

    Chrysotile has very good resistance to alkalis.
    Amosite has very good resistance to high temperature.
    Crocidolite has very good resistance to acids.

The main sources of Chrysotile asbestos, the commonest fibre in industrial use, were mined in Quebec, British Columbia, South Africa, Russia, Italy, America, Greece, and Cyprus. Crocidolite was mined in South Africa and Australia and Amosite was mined in Australia and South Africa (The name Amosite is derived from AMOSA – Asbestos Mines Of South Africa).

The main sources of Chrysotile asbestos, the commonest fibre in industrial use, were mined in Quebec, British Columbia, South Africa, Russia, Italy, America, Greece, and Cyprus. Crocidolite was mined in South Africa and Australia and Amosite was mined in Australia and South Africa (The name Amosite is derived from AMOSA – Asbestos Mines Of South Africa).

What Materials Contain Asbestos?

    Handheld dryers
    Brake shoes and pads
    Clutch facings
    Electric blankets
    Clothes dryers
    Sheet gaskets
    Boilers Automotive gaskets
    Coal and wood burning stove door gaskets
    Asbestos cement pipe and fittings
    Paints, coatings, sealants:
    Asbestos cement sheets
    Asphaltic compounds
    Asbestos cement shingles
    Buffing and polishing compounds
    Caulking and patching compounds
    Body filler
    Radiator sealant
    Drilling fluids
    Transmissions, mufflers Plaster and stucco
    Textured paints and tile cement
    Textile and felt products:
    Hoods and vents Cloth (aprons, gloves, suits, blankets)
    Roofing and roof shingles
    Fire hoses
    Cable and electrical wire insulation
    Ironing board pads
    Piano and organ felt
    Electronic motor components
    Theatre curtains
    Felts and papers
    Roofing and felts
    Distress flares
    Pipe-work wrap
    Reinforced plastic toilet cisterns & seats
    Vinyl-asbestos floor tile
    Lamp sockets
    Asbestos-felt backed vinyl sheet flooring
    Linings for vaults, safes, filing cabinets

List of Typical asbestos-containing materials found in buildings:

    Pipe insulation
    Roofing felts
    Tank and roof insulation
    Floor tiles
    Thermal insulation
    Suspended ceiling tiles
    Firebreak boards
    Textured coatings such as Artex
    Wall lining panels
    Decorative panels, soffit and fascia boards
    Insulation board
    Sprayed acoustic coatings and fire insulation
    Gaskets and washers to plant and machinery
    Fire-resistant blankets, gloves, mattresses, curtains etc
    Roof slates
    Insulation paper/cardboard under pipe lagging and floor tiles
    Strings for sealing radiators
    Jointing and packing yarns and materials to boilers, ovens, electric cables and fuse boards, flues, brickwork
    String around glazing
    Preformed products such as cable conduits, rainwater goods, fencing, roof promenade tiles, window sills, bath panels, draining boards, worktops, ducts
    Resin WC cisterns
    Roof sheets and cladding

How Long Has Asbestos Been Used For

The main sources of Chrysotile asbestos, the commonest fibre in industrial use, were mined in Quebec, British Columbia, South Africa, Russia, Italy, America, Greece, and Cyprus. Crocidolite was mined in South Africa and Australia and Amosite was mined in Australia and South Africa (The name Amosite is derived from AMOSA – Asbestos Mines Of South Africa).

When Does Asbestos Become A Hazard?

Asbestos is not always an immediate hazard. In fact, if asbestos can be maintained in good condition, it is recommended that it be left alone and periodic surveillance performed to monitor its condition. It is only when asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are disturbed or the materials become damaged that the risk to exposure is increased. When the materials are damaged, the fibres can separate and may become airborne.

Why Asbestos A Hazard?

It was discovered in the 1930s that when the microscopic asbestos fibres (up to 100 times finer than a human hair) become airborne they can be inhaled. The fibres are so inert that they cannot be dispelled from the lungs, and can cause cancer. Asbestos is made up of microscopic bundles of fibres that may become airborne when disturbed. Inhaled asbestos fibres can cause significant respiratory health problems.
Researchers still have not determined a “safe level” of exposure, but we know the greater and longer the exposure, the greater the risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease. Asbestos-related diseases kill more people than any other single work-related cause – about 2500 – 3000 people a year in the UK. There is a long latent period between exposure and onset of disease (15 – 60 years) so that most of the deaths seen today are from exposures during the 1950s – 1960s when asbestos was widely used.

What Are Some Facts About Asbestos?

The tensile strength of some individual asbestos fibres has been recorded as high as 10 times that of nylon

Asbestos fibres are said to be a constituent of at least 3000 products

Clay pots reinforced with asbestos fibres have been discovered in Finland dating back to 2500BC, and other stone-age cooking pots have been found to incorporate asbestos.

To extract asbestos fibres, the excavated rock is crushed and screened with up to 30 tonnes of rock yielding a tonne of fibre.

The ancient Egyptian, Greek and Romans would wrap their dead in asbestos woven cloth to preserve the ashes in funeral fires.

Tests at the Building Research Establishment found that a floor sprayed with one-inch of asbestos withstood a mean temperature of 1000°C for four hours without damage.

Chrysotile (White asbestos) only starts to dehydrate at temperatures above 500°C and fuses at about 1500°C

During mining, Asbestos is found in layers, sometimes only a few centimetres thick, between rocks of the same chemical composition. The fibres can be separated by hand.

Until recently, Asbestos pipes were used in beer and medicine filters because they absorb bacteria and clarify the liquids. No asbestos-related disease has ever been recorded as a result. Many asbestos cement pipes are still in use and will continue to be used for many years to come.

Asbestos has been used in a limited way for thousands of years. However, it is only since the 1880’s that mining and the use of asbestos have risen dramatically. In England, the first described case of asbestos-related lung disease was a worker who died in 1900 from pulmonary fibrosis but was not reported until 1907. Since then many studies have been made and the causes and patterns of asbestos-related diseases have become more apparent, although even today uncertainties still exist. Asbestos causes diseases by being inhaled into the lungs and aerodynamic studies have shown that fibres less than 3 microns in diameter are capable of penetrating the bronchial tree and reaching the alveoli. Coarser fibres will impact higher up and be eliminated by the ciliary ‘escalator’. Long chrysotile fibres, which tend to be curly, are less likely to penetrate through to the alveoli than the straight, more rigid amphiboles. Once in the lungs, amphibole fibres are less susceptible to clearance than chrysotile and may persist for many years. A proportion of asbestos fibres, almost always amphiboles, may become coated with an iron-containing protein to form `Asbestos Bodies’, which may have bulbous ends and are found in lung tissue and sputum. They are an indication of asbestos exposure but not necessarily a sign of disease and can in-fact be found in a high proportion of urban dwellers.


What are the different types of diseases asbestos causes?


Asbestosis usually occurs in those that have been exposed for many years to respirable Asbestos dust. It has a long latent period and is rarely seen less than 10 years after the first exposure to asbestos. The likelihood of developing the disease is related to the degree of exposure. It is not known if there is a threshold exposure level at which asbestosis will not occur. Even after prolonged exposure, only a proportion of workers will show signs of the disease and individual metabolisms are obviously a factor. The first clinical evidence of the disease is scarring to the base of the lungs. As the disease progresses, the usual symptom is breathlessness. At first, this is only on exertion but there may be breathlessness at rest in advanced cases. There may also be a dry cough. There is not usually any excess sputum except in smokers. In advanced cases, there may be finger clubbing and central cyanosis that may only be apparent on exertion. There is no specific treatment that alters the progression of the disease. The patient should be strongly advised to stop smoking and chest infections should be promptly treated. Up to 40% of asbestotics who smoke may develop lung cancer. However, the prognosis is not uniformed and some cases show slow signs of progression. The death rate from asbestosis has risen slowly since the 1970s to 186 deaths in 2000.


Mesothelioma, a malignant tumour of the pleura or peritoneum, was first definitely associated with Asbestos exposure during 1960 in workers at the Crocidolite mines in South Africa. Since then other studies have confirmed the link between mesothelioma and exposure to Crocidolite and Amosite Asbestos fibres. Cases of mesothelioma in workers exposed to Chrysotile asbestos alone seem to be rare. The latent period for the development of the disease is very long, between 15 and 40 years from first exposure. Cases have arisen after brief periods of exposure but these have usually been due to high levels of amphibole dust. One area of confusion is that small proportions of sufferers, about 15% in this country, have reported no recognisable contact with asbestos. The usual gross appearance of mesothelioma is a thick, whitish sheet of tumour tissue that encircles and compresses the thoracic or abdominal viscera. The normal clinical features of mesothelioma are chest pains, breathlessness and abdominal distension and discomfort. Diagnosis may be difficult to establish during life and biopsy material can be difficult to obtain and interpret. The biopsy may also carry the risk of seeding of the tumour along the track of the needle.

Treatment is only applied for the relief of pain and the prognosis is uniformly fatal and usually within 18 months of development. Mesothelioma is now the leading asbestos-related disease in Western Europe and reported cases are increasing due to the prolonged latent period and use of Amosite asbestos in a wide variety of building materials over the last 60 years. A small number of people who develop mesothelioma are unable to recall exposure to Asbestos, this may be because they don’t remember the exposure or because they weren’t aware that they had been exposed to asbestos at any time. Exposure to all asbestos types but especially of Crocidolite (blue) asbestos can cause mesothelioma, which is a cancer of the pleural lining to the lung or much less commonly of the peritoneum. This disease is essentially incurable and commonly leads to a great deal of pain and other suffering. Hundreds of ex-workers still die of these diseases in the UK every year.

Bronchial cancer / Lung Cancer

There is a known association between Lung Cancer and exposure to Asbestos dust. People who have already developed Asbestosis have a greater risk of contracting Lung Cancer. Lung cancer is a frequent complication of asbestosis and as with asbestosis, there is a latent period from first exposure to the development of the disease. This is usually in excess of 10 years. Studies have shown a linear relationship between levels of exposure to asbestos and the risk of developing lung cancer. This relationship is only in workers who have had prolonged exposures to asbestos dust. Lung cancer is a common disease with a statistic of 1 in 12 male deaths in England and Wales. The risk to asbestos workers is further increased in cigarette smokers. There are no pathological features which distinguish the asbestos-related lung cancer, although the tumour commonly arises in the lower lobes in association with the fibrosis. The effects of lung cancer are often greatly increased by cigarette smoking ( by about 50%). Cancer of the gastrointestinal tract can also be caused by asbestos. The latency period for cancer is often 15-30 years.

Pleural plaques

The pleura is a two-layered smooth wet membrane which surrounds the lungs and lines the inside of the rib cage. The layers slide relative to each other as the lungs expand and contract. Asbestos fibres inhaled into the lungs can work their way out to the pleura and may cause fibrosis or scarring to develop. This causes the pleura to thicken. Pleural plaques are a form of localised thickening or calcification on the outer layer of the pleura that line the chest wall. Although usually without symptoms they can cause impairment of the lung and pain. They are a marker of asbestos exposure. They are present in approximately 40% of people with regular exposure to asbestos.

Pleural effusion

A non-malignant collection of fluid between the lung and the chest wall. It may precede or predispose to diffuse bilateral pleural thickening.

Diffuse Pleural Thickening

Thickening of the lung walls due to scarring caused by Asbestos which may cause breathlessness. Exposure to asbestos can lead to generalised scarring (replacement and disruption of the normal cellular pattern by fibrous tissue) in the pleura. This involves the pleural membrane which covers the lungs. Usually affecting both lungs although not necessarily to the same extent. This thickening leads to constriction of the lung with consequent loss of lung volume and increasing breathlessness. There is often an episode of pleurisy which settles spontaneously or after treatment. This pleurisy may reoccur on the other side of the chest but does not usually affect the same side twice. There may be an associated pleural effusion (a collection of fluid in the pleural space between the lung and the chest wall). Further pleural thickening may occur leading to worsening breathlessness. This may worsen in either a stepped pattern or steady deterioration. It is usually not possible to give a firm prognosis for diffuse pleural thickening as the natural history of the disease is variable. Often the process is not progressive but it can result in an increasingly restrictive pattern due to restriction or loss of lung elasticity from fibrosis.

asbestos waste removal

The Health and Safety Executive has stringent regulations, and asbestos waste must be handled by licensed operators. If asbestos is found, a thorough risk assessment should be carried out, and the number of people with access should be restricted to as few as practical. Anyone dealing with disposal should refer to the HSE’s EM9 sheet, which lays out the law in its handling wherever you are in the UK.

HSE direction says all waste should be double-bagged or double wrapped in stout plastic sheeting with the correct warning signs attached. If a skip is used, it must be one for asbestos waste only and must be lockable. It is not acceptable to put waste – no matter how well wrapped – into a standard skip.

The best thing to do is to leave the job to professionals. They’ll know what they’re doing, have effective procedures in place, and will remove hazardous waste with skill and care to make sure no-one or nothing remains contaminated.

Deal with asbestos responsibly – lives depend on it.

Removing asbestos from your premises can be worrying, so read on to find out how Business Waste can help with your asbestos waste collection needs.

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