Contamination Testing: An Investigation Of Asbestos

by | Nov 10, 2020

Unless you’ve been living under a particularly carcinogenic rock, you probably know by now that asbestos isn’t the best thing in the world when it comes to your health. In fact, we’ve known for a while now the material’s danger, with Greeks and Romans recognising that it caused, in their words, a sickness of the lungs. Today, the threat of asbestos keeps many developers up at night, which is why contamination testing services are so essential. The team here at Borehole Solutions Ltd, who offer a comprehensive in-soil asbestos testing service, wanted to look at this harmful substance in a bit more detail.


What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibrous material that can actually be broken down into six major types:

  • Chrysotile (the most common variant)
  • Amosite
  • Crocidolite
  • Tremolite
  • Actinolite
  • Anthophyllite

 Regardless of type, however, the substance is still harmful and therefore any indication that asbestos is present must be treated carefully.


If It’s So Dangerous, Why Was It Used? 

Well, in an era when science and medicine were both less well-understood, and with asbestos acting as a highly heat-resistant electrical insulator, it was hard to argue against its use as a building material! That began to change for the first time in earnest, however, at the beginning of the 20thcentury. After the first asbestos-related death documented in 1906, it quickly became apparent just how harmful the substance could be. This, in turn, led to the first-ever industry regulation which came into effect in the UK in 1932.

Whilst its origins may be rooted in the past, however, it’s still very much a problem facing present society. In fact, it’s thought that around 125 million people are still exposed to asbestos, globally. In other words, it’s a problem that needs due care and attention in dealing with it. Contamination testing services, such as those offered by Borehole Solutions Ltd, are unquestionably the best way of doing this.


Current Regulations

As you might expect for such a harmful substance, the global regulation surrounding it is stringent, to say the least. They include the European Union’s ‘Directive 2009/148/EC = exposure to asbestos at work’ which aims to protect workers’ health from the risk of asbestos exposure. More recently, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) introduced The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012which placed even more watertight regulations on any work involving asbestos.


Dealing With Asbestos

What does asbestos contamination testing involve, then? Firstly, it requires the contractor to carry out a preliminary risk assessment (PRA). These PRAs compose of five separate steps:

  • Step 1. Define the context and objectives of the risk assessment.
  • Step 2. Determine the site’s broad characteristics (as well as the scope of the conceptual model).
  • Step 3. Identifying and collecting asbestos-related information (pathways and receptors, for instance).
  • Step 4a. Asbestos is identified as a major contaminant of concern (CoC).
  • Step 5a. Reconnaissance is conducted in relation to asbestos, after which an exposure estimation should be carried out.
  • Step 4b. An alternative fourth step in which asbestos is not identified as being a major CoC.
  • Step 5b. (Follows 4b) carry out reconnaissance visits in relation to other CoCs. Provided that no asbestos is encountered therein, then no further action is required in relation to asbestos.

You can see just how thorough contractors must be when dealing with the risk of asbestos – and rightly so! Should it ever be proved that a developer didn’t carry out adequate contamination testing, and it turns out that a CoC such as asbestos was present, then the consequences are huge, both legally and financially.


Find Out More About Our Asbestos Contamination Testing

Asbestos is a material that needs dealing with if a developer ever wants to build upon a plot of land. Unfortunately, thanks to its former prominence as a building material, there’s a lot of it still about. Fortunately, that’s where we come in! So, if you’d like to find out more about our asbestos contamination testing, then get in touch! Contact Borehole Solutions Ltd today on 01733 200 501 or by emailing us at Why not head over o our Instagram to see some of the previous projects we have carried out.