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Asbestos risk after flooding

by Brian Sims

The recent floods that have devastated many parts of the UK could have unexpected consequences by increasing the risk of asbestos exposure, warns David Nichol (pictured), Vice Chairman of Asbestos Training Association (UKATA). Nichol says that anyone engaging in the clean-up process should be vigilant against this killer substance. Asbestos related diseases can take 20 years to develop and there is no cure. The disasters meant misery for many and 150 properties were listed as flooded in Surrey and Kent alone. While asbestos is not normally harmful unless disturbed, flood waters can damage the integrity of buildings, exposing asbestos contaminated flooring, walls and ceilings, breaking down any asbestos present into fine fibres and bringing this dangerous material to the surface. Some asbestos fibres are waterproof and can sit on the surface of water, risking being inhaled once they dry out and posing a serious health hazard. The advice to owners of damaged properties is to use caution when cleaning or searching through debris and if asbestos is suspected, take no chances. Click here for more information on asbestos

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