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DanIsaacs  
#1 Posted : 08 October 2017 08:26:41(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
DanIsaacs

As my per my previous post, I'm a statistician working in risk analysis, particularly environmental contaminants. I'm currently looking at asbestos.

Having recieved such a generous response last time, I'm wondering if I might ask for some more help. I need to try and work out the frequency of finding loose fill asbestos in residential properties. It's listed on most asbestos websites as a possibility, some even using the word 'common', but neither of the two commercial firms who advise me have ever come across it in a combined 40yrs of abatement.

So, do any experts out there have any experience of finding loose fill asbestos in the cavities or lofts of domestic properties? I'm not looking here for annecdotal evidence of the one time someone has seen it (I don't doubt it exists) I'm trying to get a picture of it's frequency. If anyone could provide me with a rough idea of, say, the number of domestic properties in which they've come across it compared to the number of properties they've surveyed in their career I'd be very grateful.

boblewis  
#2 Posted : 08 October 2017 09:40:40(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
boblewis

I have certainly never encountered such a situation in over 30 years in construction H&S.  The only area I heard of was Armley in Leeds where Turner and Newall were involved

Edited by user 08 October 2017 09:41:17(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

RayRapp  
#3 Posted : 09 October 2017 08:46:49(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

I am with Bob on this one although I cannot claim the years in construction that he has. The issue is that most work on domestic properties does not include intrusive work to the walls where such 'loose fill' asbestos might be found. It is not uncommon to find ACMs in lofts and attics which have been removed from previous refurb work and stored, usually asbestos cement. Some flats/houses have asbestos panels built into the design i.e. resiform panels but this is uncommon.

Asbestos surveys rarely go so intrusive as to check behind cavities so how prevalent the problem is anyone's guess. However, empirical evidence suggests not as prevalent as some might suggest, including the HSE who always err on the safe side anyway.

chas  
#4 Posted : 09 October 2017 09:16:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chas

In my days as an asbestos analyst/surveyor I only came across loose fill asbestos in an attic space once. It was not a 'domestic' property as such. It was a (listed, I think) Victorian brick built two storey accommodation/office block on the site of a much larger hospital which was demolished and rebuilt on the same site. I am not at liberty to name the site as the Victorian office/accommodation block is still there - I drive past it several times a year. The loose asbestos was removed, along with all the pipeowrk lagging that was there also.  

sappery760  
#5 Posted : 09 October 2017 17:55:09(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
sappery760

I have more than 50 years in all types of construction and have never heard of this in a domestic situation [cheap cowboys probably used]

many years ago older powerstations had such in-fill in hard to get places around the boilers and even under the turbines but there are all gone now

just get in a specialist to correctly sample and ID the material and then remove

thanks 1 user thanked sappery760 for this useful post.
Carl2118 on 10/10/2017(UTC)
DanIsaacs  
#6 Posted : 11 October 2017 07:25:33(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
DanIsaacs

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply. I really don't know what's going on here, ever since I got involved in the statistics of asbestos things have got wierder, particularly with the HSE, now it seems this 'common' usage is virtually unheard of. I've just spoken to a third abatement company on the phone who said they've never come across it their entire career. Not only that but I thought the photos on the HSE website might lead somewhere so I looked them up on Google, and found they're stock photos from Canada. Why on earth are the HSE using stock photos from Canada to imply a useage of asbestos is common that no-one seems to have encountered?

I hope I don't cause any offence to the hard-working and well-intentioned people trying to protect the public from this dangerous material, but at a scientific level, the asbestos industry is a disgrace, there seems to be an attitude that actual evidence about what this stuff does, where it is and what's best to do about it is unecessary and it's perfectly safe just to proceed on the basis of a few individual's guesswork.

Anyway, as this is not the place for a rant, thanks again for your help. I think, given the responses I've got, my original 1:100 chance of encountering such a meterial (based on the relative quantities of asbestos production vs. other similar building materials) will have to be seriously revised, if people are never coming across it in 20-50yr careers.

RayRapp  
#7 Posted : 11 October 2017 08:20:05(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Dan, interesting summary and one many practitioners will have some empathy with.

The HSE tend to err on the side of caution and whilst it is perfectly possible to encounter loose fill asbestos in voids empirical evidence suggests it is a rare occurrence. Indeed, as a regulator the HSE have often gone above and beyond what is required in their guidance material. It is one of the reasons why health and safety lacks some credibility within industries.

ODonnell19538  
#8 Posted : 11 October 2017 10:29:45(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
ODonnell19538

I think the likelihood of encountering loose fill insulation would have varied considerably according to location.  I have heard numerous anecdotal accounts of surveyors or LARCs coming across crocidolite and other types of loose fill asbestos insulation in residential loft spaces in towns which had strong links with asbestos processing, shipbuilding and other heavy industries - Clydebank springs to mind for one: http://www.clydebankasbestos.org/asbestos---clydebank.html.  One would hope that most of this type of material has long gone by now and that discoveries nowadays are an extremely rare occurrence.

DanIsaacs  
#9 Posted : 11 October 2017 11:43:31(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
DanIsaacs

Originally Posted by: ODonnell19538 Go to Quoted Post

I think the likelihood of encountering loose fill insulation would have varied considerably according to location.  I have heard numerous anecdotal accounts of surveyors or LARCs coming across crocidolite and other types of loose fill asbestos insulation in residential loft spaces in towns which had strong links with asbestos processing, shipbuilding and other heavy industries - Clydebank springs to mind for one: http://www.clydebankasbestos.org/asbestos---clydebank.html.  One would hope that most of this type of material has long gone by now and that discoveries nowadays are an extremely rare occurrence.

Thanks for the reply. As I said in the OP I'm not in any doubt that the stuff exists, it would be quite a stretch even for the HSE to imagine they just made it up, what I'm really looking for are the numbers, even very rough. I don't suppose you'd be able to put any numbers to your "numerous annecdotal accounts" could you? Are talking about dozens or hundreds, and out of how many houses they must have surveyed?

I understand if you can't be accurate, but you're the first person who's even claimed to have heard anyone having come accross this stuff, especially "numerous" accounts, so I'm really keen to understand what kind of numbers we're talking about.

If you can help further, great, if not, no worries.

descarte8  
#10 Posted : 12 October 2017 13:17:22(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
descarte8

Afternoon Dan, given your previous posting and questions I thought this would be right u pyour street:

https://ipxii.mira.cx/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/10/Howie-Powerpoint-Session-9.pdf

DanIsaacs  
#11 Posted : 13 October 2017 07:57:19(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
DanIsaacs

Originally Posted by: descarte8 Go to Quoted Post

Afternoon Dan, given your previous posting and questions I thought this would be right u pyour street:

https://ipxii.mira.cx/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/10/Howie-Powerpoint-Session-9.pdf

Thanks for the thought. It's an interesting article, I see where he's going, but I'm not sure I agree with his statistics, or his conclusion. He seems to have made a couple of errors.

Firstly, if latency periods are going up, then that will have the opposite effect to increases in life expectancy whereas he seems to suggest it will have a compunding effect. Consider we used to only see latencies of about 30-70yrs because longer than that people died of something else first. Now people are living longer we see latencies up to 90yrs - more mesotheliomas. But if latencies are also getting longer on average, then we're going to see fewer of the 30-40yr latencies - fewer mesotheliomas.

Secondly, we're not just randomly living longer, we're living longer because more people are surviving things which previously would have killed them. In order to accept this prediction of the future, we'd have to accept that more people will survive mesothelioma too, so whilst rates might go up (though not by as much as he claims), deaths should go down, otherwise we've no cause to believe the ONS predictions about life expectancy in the first place.

Which is basically why I disagree with his conclusion that asbestos levels need to be kept as low as possible, or rather I disagree with the implication that this is not already being done quite adequately for background exposures. I think panic removal of asbestos is going to become (if it has not already) the biggest single source of mesothelioma in the next 50yrs, and the best way to deal with background cases is not to stir that panic but to invest in mesothelioma research which shockingly is still one of the least funded areas of cancer research in the country, despite the many organisations reminding us about how mesothelioma is still such a big killer. Makes you wonder what the real motive is.

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