According to a recent BBC enquiry, over 90% of NHS trusts report that they have hospitals containing asbestos.
Though the NHS claims that their strict regulations ensure that any asbestos in their buildings is safely contained, this should act as a wake-up call. Not just for healthcare settings, but for schools, universities, offices, and other workplaces. Because asbestos is potentially lethal, and it’s a lot more common than you might realise.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a silicate mineral composed of long and thin fibrous crystals. Each crystal fibre contains microscopic “fibrils”. If the asbestos is struck, rubbed, or cut, or if the material deteriorates, these microscopic fibrils can be released into the atmosphere.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to numerous lung conditions, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. It can also lead to long-term inflammation and scarring of the lungs, a condition named after the material itself: Asbestosis.
What Buildings Contain Asbestos?
Though we now recognise asbestos as a serious health and safety hazard, unfortunately asbestos was a common building material for decades. Asbestos is solid, stable, a good electrical insulator and highly fire resistant. It wasn’t until the 1970s that we became aware of the health risks. As such, many modern buildings constructed before the 1980s are very likely to contain asbestos as part of their structure.
What is an Asbestos Air Quality Test?
An asbestos air quality test will measure the levels of asbestos fibres in the air. The test can involve background air monitoring to establish the base levels of airborne particles. It can also involve exposure monitoring, which involves testing areas where people are likely to gather and work to assess likely exposure levels.
Following an asbestos air quality test, you’ll receive a detailed report outlining the potential risks on your premises, which should contain some recommendations for how you can improve the air quality for everyone.
If you’d like to know more about how air quality tests work, head here to read our full guide to testing and improving air quality in hospitals, schools and workplaces.
Do I Need an Asbestos Air Quality Test?
Asbestos isn’t really used in construction anymore. But if you work in a building constructed between 1950 and 1990, then it’s very likely that your workplace contains asbestos. And if that asbestos is ever disturbed, or even if it deteriorates, then it could pose a serious health risk.
But even more recently-built workplaces should consider asbestos air quality tests. If an older building was demolished to make way for your workplace, then there may still be asbestos particles lingering in the air. In fact, any demolition in your surrounding area may have released asbestos into the air, which might have been carried by the wind to pose a risk elsewhere.
For decades, asbestos was everywhere. So for total peace of mind, all schools, healthcare settings and workplaces should consider an asbestos air quality test. Because the earlier you know about your exposure risk levels, the earlier you can act to improve the health quality for everyone.
Arrange an Air Quality Test for Your Hospital, School, or Workplace
We specialise in workplace air quality monitoring services. We can monitor your staff’s exposure levels to any potentially harmful substances in your workplace, including asbestos. This will help you to understand your risk levels so you can devise an air quality solution that works for you. Head here to learn more about our bespoke air quality monitoring services.
Air purifiers can filter many harmful particles. You can get small standalone purifiers for single rooms, as well as larger systems for larger rooms, some capable of achieving five air changes per hour. Head here to browse our range of air purifiers for a range of settings.