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Asbestos Information

Chrysotile, Amosite and Crocidolite

Asbestos is the name of a group of natural occurring mineral fibres which are strong and are resistant to heat and chemicals. Due to these properties, asbestos was commonly used in the past as insulation and fire proofing.

Asbestos was also used in the manufacture of other building materials. Three types of asbestos are commonly found in Ireland – chrysotile (white asbestos), amosite (brown asbestos) and crocidolite (blue asbestos).

When the fibres of Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) are released into the air there is a risk that they may be inhaled. Breathing in air containing asbestos fibres can lead to asbestos-related diseases (mainly cancers of the chest and lungs). These diseases do not occur immediately and can take from 15 – 60 years to develop. Where 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.

It is now prohibited to use, re-use, sell or supply asbestos or asbestos containing materials or products. However products or materials containing asbestos, which were already installed or in service prior to the prohibition, may remain in place until they are disposed of or reach the end of their service life. As a result, there is still potential for exposure to asbestos in a variety of workplaces due to the large quantities of asbestos and ACM’s which were used in buildings in the past.

Occupational health and safety legislation for working with asbestos

Note: The above is not an exhaustive list of legislation, however other relevant legislation may apply.

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