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Asbestos (qualitative)

Asbestos (qualitative)

Asbestos is the name used to describe several naturally occurring minerals that are made up of very thin microscopic fibres. These have been used to strengthen and fireproof materials right through much of the 20th century.


Before its dangers were known, asbestos was used in buildings for insulating, flooring and roofing. It was also sprayed on to ceilings and walls. Although its use is now banned in Britain, structures built before the year 2000 may still have asbestos in them. These pose very little risk if they remain intact.


However, when the materials are damaged or disturbed, very small asbestos fibres can be released into the air and breathed into one’s lungs.


Exposure to asbestos causes cancer and several other life-threatening diseases.


According to the British Lung Foundation, “symptoms of asbestos-related disease take many years – even decades – to appear after the original exposure to asbestos, so exposure a long time ago might only be showing up as a disease today”.


An EC report into soil contamination adds: “Asbestos contamination in the soil is of concern in a number of locations, because it can be released to the air by the wind or by human disturbance. Asbestos has long-term health consequences if it is inhaled, with increased mortality from lung cancer and mesothelioma the most extreme outcomes. Disturbing contaminated soil can pose an inhalation risk.”


Please note that there is no “safe” threshold for asbestos levels in growing spaces and consequently its presence - even in relatively small quantities - poses a potential risk. Please also note that this screen will reveal the presence of asbestos in a sample but stops short of measuring how much of it there is.


    We will send you a testing kit that includes a labeled soil sample bag and instructions on how to take a sample from your growing space. When you're done, place the bag back in the box that will have a pre-paid postage address label already affixed, seal it and pop the package into a Royal Mail post box or drop it off at a local post office.

    Click here to find your nearest post box location

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