What is asbestos?

Asbestos Roof

Asbestos is the name for a group of natural occurring mineral fibres which are strong and both heat and chemically resistant. Due to these properties, asbestos was commonly used in the past as insulation and fire proofing. It was also used as a component in other building materials. There are three main types of asbestos found in Ireland – chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos).

What is the risk from asbestos?

The risk associated with exposure to asbestos relates to the possibility that the fibres within the asbestos containing material (ACM) can become released into the air and are then inhaled. Breathing in air containing asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related diseases (mainly cancers of the chest and lungs). These diseases will not occur immediately and can take from 15 – 60 years to develop. Note that as long as asbestos is in good condition and there is no disturbance or damage to the ACM, it will not pose a risk to health as fibres will not be released.

Where is asbestos found?

Asbestos can be found in any industrial, commercial, public or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000. Asbestos was widely used in a large variety of construction materials for a number of purposes e.g. flooring, walls, ceiling, roofs, heating systems and equipment. A detailed survey will be required to identify where asbestos is present in your building. An asbestos survey must be carried out by a competent person.