Asbestos in Adhesives

The presence of asbestos in adhesives: managing the hazard

Asbestos is a hazardous substance and is present in many older adhesive products. Though there is no need to replace these products if they have been well maintained, it is crucial to comply with the 2012 Control of Asbestos Regulations and thus to ensure that they do not pose any hazard.

Common adhesive products that may contain this substance

Asbestos can be found in flooring (including floorboards and floor tiles), ceilings and walls (including wallpaper), and it has been deployed in adhesives since 1900. It used to be a very popular adhesive because it was able to form a strong bond with numerous types of surface and also because it is highly fire resistant. Mastic (particularly black mastic, which is partly made of the sticky gum of the mastic tree) and asphaltic cutback adhesive are two of the most common materials that contain asbestos materials, though the first adhesives containing this substance were fibrous adhesives.

Cement adhesives, sealants for walls, floors and ceilings, and duct adhesives are also likely to contain asbestos materials. It can also be found in numerous water based emulsions, particularly those that are used to bind synthetic laminates together (one example of this is the emulsion adhesive used to bind together many types of roof tiles).

What to do when asbestos surveys identify a hazard

Asbestos surveys ought to be conducted in any at risk buildings to check all adhesives and other Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) for the presence of asbestos fibres.

When the fibres are detected, they can be safe to live and work around as long as they are not cracked or otherwise disturbed. If building works are required which will involve breaking up the adhesives, it is crucial to inform all of the contractors about the presence of asbestos fibres. Proper respiratory equipment ought to be used, as these fibres are associated with the development of pleural plaques and with devastating respiratory cancers such as mesothelioma.

Disposing of the adhesives if they need to be replaced or otherwise thrown away ought to be done in a safe manner. By no means are they to be disposed of in domestic waste collections or in a skip containing other rubble and waste items. Instead, Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s) ought to be sealed in an appropriate container and disposed of in a special facility: your local council will be able to advise you regarding this matter.

We offer advise and asbestos surveys and sampling to answer any of your queries.  If required we also offer a complete and impartial Asbestos Removal Project Management Service where we use third party independent contractors to ensure that any AMC’s, rubble, old insulation boards, and contaminated loose material is disposed of safely and legally (as you may know, it is not permissible to dispose of these hazardous materials in usual domestic waste collections, or in skips).

More information

For more information about ACM’s also see our webpage on Asbestos Containing Materials , contact us directly or see the Government health & Safety Executive website information titled HSE:- Where can you find asbestos?