What are friable and non friable asbestos?
Strong, cost-effective, incombustible, and fire-resistant – First off, asbestos was an ideal substance within construction and manufacturing within the 20th century – and the most widely used.
Its high levels of danger to public health led to it becoming a banned product in 1999 throughout the UK, resulting in many homes over the last two decades having asbestos removed or well contained within their existing homes.
If asbestos becomes damaged or disturbed, the contained fibres become airborne and breathable – which leads to certain cases of lung disease, breathing problems and sometimes even cancer in the long run. If you wonder what makes asbestos so dangerous to health, the key factor comes down to the friability of the material.
What is friability?
Friability is the tendency for asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) to break down, crumble or chip under pressure as a result of abrasion. ACMs that are more likely to be damaged and release inhalable fibres are known as friable.
Different ACMs have differing concentrations of fibres which affect how friable they are. Materials of a high concentration are more harmful to health and more friable as a result.
Examples of friable and non friable asbestos – friable asbestos come in such areas as thermal insulation and insulation boards, pipes and sprayed coatings. Non-friable examples include vinyl floor tiles, cement sheets and textured coatings.
Many ACMs become friable over prolonged periods with deterioration from age or weathering. Some are more naturally friable, such as insulation, which poses more risk from damage.
Non-friable materials are also known as bonded asbestos because the fibres are bound together.
Typically, the more asbestos contained within a product, the weaker the product becomes. ACMs with high concentrations of the carcinogen break with very little pressure very simply. However, very few products contain 100% asbestos.
Lower concentrations of the fibre translate to lower risks involved with releasing fibres into the breathable air, with non-friable materials often having less than 15% asbestos content.
Crushable materials are not a threat unless damaged or disturbed. If you suspect your home or business premises may be contaminated, do not attempt to move or touch them and expose yourself to harmful particles.