Asbestos is a material that needs to be handled with care at all times, and most people fully understand this by now. Yet there are different types of asbestos, and it is found in so many different places that it can be hard to determine the actual level of risk. While it is always best to err on the side of caution, you should pay particular careful if you suspect that there may be low density asbestos fibre board in your home. Why is this particularly problematic and how should you proceed?
Low density asbestos fibre board (aka LDB) is an insulating material that contains fibre asbestos sunk within a calcium silicate plaster base. Unlike other products (such as cement sheeting), this type of solution can contain a very high percentage of asbestos fibre by volume and should, therefore, be treated with additional care.
LDB was used extensively up until the 1970s when building internal walls, ceiling panels or insulation for acoustic purposes. It can be difficult for anyone other than an expert to determine whether the product in question is LDB, cement sheeting or something else entirely, but until it can be properly identified, the worst should be assumed.
If this type of board is uncovered during renovation and is in generally good condition, then it will present a low risk, so long as it is left undisturbed. However, if it is broken without the proper precautions in place, a high number of asbestos fibres could be released into the general vicinity. Consequently, some additional measures may need to be put in place before any work begins.
For example, it may be better to seal the entire piece with a polyvinyl acetate to keep dust and debris to a minimum or use water sprays to dampen the work area. Personal protective equipment should be worn, including a respirator, and it may be necessary to bring in an industrial spec vacuum cleaner, fitted with the right type of filter for the aftermath. The material will need to be removed to a qualified treatment facility with extra care taken along the way.
The Best Approach
In general, it is always best to leave this work to asbestos removal professionals. When you do so, they will be able to identify the nature of the risk, carefully remove any asbestos materials and provide you with a final confirmation.