A collection of frequently asked questions about the Environment and You.

Popular FAQs

  • What is asbestos?

    Asbestos is a natural mineral made up of many small fibres. There are three main types:

    • Blue asbestos - crocidolite
    • Brown asbestos - amosite
    • White asbestos - chrysotile
  • What are the risks from asbestos?

    Asbestos can be harmful if dust containing the fibre is inhaled.

    The risk from asbestos where the fibres are still intact (such as in asbestos cement) is significantly reduced. However, always treat all asbestos products with caution as potential sources of fibrous dust, and handle them carefully.

  • Where is asbestos found

    Asbestos has been used in the home in building materials and consumer goods, particularly to resist heat and to give fire protection.

    Common uses in the past are as:

    • Insulation lagging in buildings and factories, on pipework and for boilers and ducts
    • Asbestos insulating boards, such as Asbestolux and Marinite, were used as wall partitions, fire doors, ceiling tiles, etc
    • Asbestos cement products such as sheeting on walls and roofs, tiles, cold water tanks, gutters, pipes and in decorative plaster finishes
    • A spray coating on steelwork, concrete walls and ceilings, for fire protection and insulation

    Asbestos material can be inadvertently disturbed during maintenance, repair or refurbishment work on a building. Drilling, cutting or other disturbance of existing asbestos materials can release asbestos fibres into the air. Asbestos products should always be handled carefully.

  • What do you do if find asbestos?

    If you think you have come across asbestos in your home or office and you're unsure about whether the material contains asbestos, don't take any chances. Seek expert advice from asbestos monitoring/surveying companies.

    A specialist contractor should be engaged to carry out work on asbestos products or to demolish asbestos products, particularly those that are worn or damaged.

    In the case of asbestos products where the fibres are tightly bound (for example, in asbestos cement roofs), and the material is in good condition, specialist asbestos removal contractors may not always be necessary.

    Always take precautions, and contact the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for advice:

    Health and Safety Authority,
    The Metropolitan Building,
    James Joyce Street,
    Dublin 1.
    Tel. (01) 6147020 or 1890289389
    Fax. (01) 6147020.

    Queries concerning working with asbestos should be directed to
    Occupational Hygiene Unit,
    HSA, Dublin 1.
    Tel: (01) 614 7000.

  • Disposing of asbestos waste

    Asbestos waste is hazardous and must be disposed of properly. Before any demolition work, identify which waste facility is licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for disposal of asbestos waste.

    Hazardous waste transfer stations can accept asbestos waste and then arrange to have it disposed of at an appropriate facility here or abroad.