NEWLY RELEASED data has revealed where people are most commonly testing for and finding asbestos. A total of 5,338 samples collected through asbestos testing kits during 2023 were analysed by specialist company, Asbestos Sampling.
According to the figures, 60% of the submitted samples were taken from Artex, the textured surface coating used to create patterned finishes on ceilings, which was particularly popular during the 1970s.
Home occupants are clearly suspicious of their Artex ceilings, as well as other parts of their homes. Other sources of samples during the year were asbestos insulation boards (AIB – often used in partition walls, ceiling tiles and soffits), which accounted for 14% of submitted samples. Those were followed by 10% of samples from floor tiles, 9% from cement roofing, 6% from insulation and 1% from cement pipes.
Cement Roofing Most Likely to Contain Asbestos
Asbestos Sampling’s analysis of the submitted samples revealed that the most likely samples to test positive for asbestos came from cement roofing. In total, 64% of cement roofing samples submitted to the company showed the presence of asbestos. They were followed by 57% of cement pipe samples testing positive, 43% of floor tile samples and 32% of AIB samples.
Also testing positive were 17% of the Artex samples submitted to Asbestos Sampling, as were 2% of the samples taken from insulation.
Asbestos Sampling Co-founder Stephen Roche said: “Clearly, asbestos is a concern for thousands of people up and down the country, given the dangers of exposure. Our analysis emphasises the range of places that asbestos can be found, from Artex ceilings to cement roofing and pipes.”
Asbestos Sampling also found significant regional variations in the presence of asbestos. 81% of cement roofing samples from Wales, for example, tested positive for asbestos, while just 54% of samples from Greater London were positive.
Of those testing their Artex, 28% of samples from Wales and the South East tested positive, compared to only 13% of those from Scotland.
For anyone worried about the potential presence of asbestos, the advice from Asbestos Sampling is: “If you suspect asbestos may be present in your home, we recommend getting an asbestos survey carried out at the property to confirm its presence.”
The use of asbestos was banned in the UK more than two decades ago, but it is estimated that there are around 1.5 million buildings still containing around six million tons of the material.
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