Did you know any of this stuff about asbestos ?

A distinction which is never made in waste disposal is between asbestos fibre used as insulation, which can readily give off asbestos dust and presents a serious hazard to those handling it; and asbestos cement sheets and pipes, where the asbestos is intimately bound with cement and can only be liberated into the air by seriously irresponsible handing (such as a powered circular saw, which has long been recognised as bad practice).

Asbestos cement, despite the asbestos it contains, is benign and needs no special precautions to handle it safely – ironing boards 20 years or more old have a piece of asbestos cement as the stand for the iron – these remain in good condition and confirm that the material is stable.

Asbestolux insulation board was manufactured up to 1970, and is more friable than asbestos cement and presents an intermediate level of hazard.

If these distinctions were recognised, it would reduce both the cost of removing asbestos from buildings and industrial plant, and disposal.

Asbestos cement is an inert waste – the history of its use and satisfactory service in underground pipes shows this – it is capable of being sent to landfill without special precautions, including after 2015, or could be considered as a construction waste.

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