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#1 Posted : 12 February 2001 18:49:00(UTC)
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Posted By smudge
As a health and safety advisor for a fire service who fit smoke alarms and who has a friend who works for a company that repairs property I would appreciate any information or where to look for any information concerning working on Artex containing asbestos
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#2 Posted : 13 February 2001 15:52:00(UTC)
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Posted By Mark Preston
Try the latest guidance from the DETR "Asbestos and man-made mineral fibres in buildings:practical guidance" (formerly "Asbestos in buildings")

which you'll find here:

http://www.environment.d...asbestos/guide/index.htm

The question of "artex" or more properly, asbestos containing paints and textured plasters is an awkward one.

It's probable (and as a -recently repurposed- asbestos analyst it was my experience) that most such ceiling coatings you'll encounter do not contain asbestos - but a signifcant quantity certainly will - and there's no way of knowing without first sampling and analysing the material (one of my least favourite analysis jobs - not so much looking for a needle in a haystack as a few tufts in a bucket of hardened plaster).

- or you assume the stuff contains asbestos

Then you face the difficulty of trying to anticipate personal exposure depending on what's going to be done with the material - I don't think there's been a lot of work done on this (I'd love to be proved wrong)

If I recall the last but one ConDoc on changes to the asbestos regs - some work had shown that steaming/scraping the stuff off carried with it a low exposure risk, dry scraping or machine abrasion, however was/is a no-no.

Where this leaves you installing smoke alarms is a problem. The cost of sampling and analysis of each property you visit will far outweigh the costs of the alarm and your visit.

I would judge it very low risk to stick the alarm to the ceiling with a firm adhesive - BUT its subsequent removal has some exposure risk - the adhesive will more than likely pull the coating away from the ceiling substrate - effectively dry stipping a small area of ceiling. This may result in lower exposures than screwing/unscrewing the device (not machine drilling) straight through the ceiling into a joist - it may not.

Whether or not these methods would result in levels above the control limit and action levels should only be determined in controlled trials - and whether or not you decided that an exposure within these limits was acceptable in a domestic setting is, thankfully, not a judgement I have to make.

Necessary precautions and control measures will depend to a large extent on the exposures you anticpate, based on good evidence.

If this(probably)small risk from asbestos results in fewer smoke alarms being fitted, it would be a great shame, since as I'm sure you're all too well aware, effective smoke detection/alarms are one of the most cost effective means there is of preserving lives.
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#3 Posted : 15 February 2001 21:52:00(UTC)
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Posted By Ken Taylor
I'm with Mark entirely on this. The DETR document seems the best current guidance for these sorts of applications. Having been actively involved in promoting the installation of smoke alarms for many years, I would be very sorry to hear if the possible presence of a minor amount of asbestos in a relatively thin coating stopped this valuable life saving enterprise. Exterior grade 'Sticky Fixers' may be suitable in many circumstances. Where not, your risk assessment might well conclude that giving operatives an FFP2 or 3 disposable dust mask and telling them to use a hand-drill, use a wet method to remove any fallen dust and then dispose of it in a sealed polythene bag along with the mask and the damp cloth (followed by hand washing) whenever there appears to be a decorative coating might well be considered reasonable.
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