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leisure design & build is the premier title for specifiers, architects and operators active in the ever-growing leisure build sector. ldb is the only magazine to link the construction and the leisure industries, it encompasses developments across both the private and public sectors to give a truly holistic view of the way the industry is performing and developing.

News archive - November/December 2018

Asbestos problems going undetected says environmental expert

Asbestos problems going undetected says environmental expert

The UK needs to bring its asbestos monitoring regulations in line with other countries who have more robust controls despite having less of a problem.

So says Charles Pickles, Chief Technical Officer of Lucion Environment, who says that although UK regulations presume asbestos left in-situ and which is not subject to building/maintenance work is of little risk, “there is now serious and growing concern over current exposure levels from asbestos that remains in-situ because the materials themselves have either been damaged and/or are degrading, which increases the likelihood of fibres being released into the air and increasing the likelihood of exposure.”

Pickles says that concern about low level chronic exposure to asbestos is now justified because much of the asbestos installed remains in-situ, with no effective regime for measuring any resulting current exposure. “Exposure is cumulative and there is little understanding of the level of the actual chronic exposure from asbestos left in-situ. Generally, people are now living longer giving asbestos disease longer to manifest itself. So children in schools risk becoming exposed to asbestos at a younger age, again increasing the years available for asbestos disease to develop.”

Pickles is calling for amendments to the “Duty to Manage” terms within the Control of Asbestos Regulations, (2012) and better measurement. “Our current practice for measuring asbestos exposure (Phase Contrast Microscopy - PCM) is insufficiently sensitive to observe the vast majority of asbestos fibres in a given sample of air. Other nations with much less of an asbestos problem have adopted sensitive air monitoring techniques, such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and thus are able to monitor much lower exposures. As a result, in the UK, we simply do not know what exposures people in our schools, public buildings and workplaces are being exposed to.”

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