Posted by Conor Mulcahy on 10th Jun 2024

Understanding and Managing Asbestos in Ireland

Understanding and Managing Asbestos in Ireland: An In-Depth Guide


Asbestos, once hailed for its versatility, now represents a significant health hazard, necessitating rigorous management and disposal practices, especially in countries like Ireland where its use was widespread. This guide aims to deepen the understanding of asbestos, focusing on its types, historical use, health implications, and the regulatory landscape in Ireland.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a term that encompasses six distinct naturally occurring silicate minerals, each recognized for its unique characteristics and associated health hazards. These minerals include:

  • Chrysotile (White Asbestos): Predominantly found in the construction of roofs, ceilings, walls, and floors, chrysotile is the most prevalent form of asbestos utilised in residential and commercial buildings due to its resistance to heat and its tensile strength. This is the most common form of asbestos found in Ireland.
  • Amosite (Brown Asbestos): This type of asbestos is primarily used in cement sheets and pipe insulation. Its durability and resistance to heat make it suitable for these applications, despite the health risks it poses.
  • Crocidolite (Blue Asbestos): Known for its use in steam engines, pipe insulation, and spray-on coatings, crocidolite asbestos has a fine, needle-like fibre structure that makes it particularly hazardous when inhaled.
  • Tremolite, Anthophyllite, and Actinolite: These forms of asbestos are not as widespread, but are equally dangerous. They can be found in certain geological formations and may contaminate other minerals like talc and vermiculite, posing risks in unexpected places.

The properties that once made asbestos minerals highly valued in construction and manufacturing—such as their resistance to heat, fire, and chemicals—are overshadowed by the significant health risks they present. The fibrous nature of these minerals allows them to be easily inhaled or ingested, where they can become lodged in the lungs or abdominal cavity, leading to serious health issues, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. The latency period between exposure to asbestos and the onset of disease can be several decades, making it a silent but deadly hazard in environments where it is present.

Understanding the types of asbestos and their applications, as well as the risks they pose, is crucial for managing and mitigating exposure. This knowledge is essential for professionals in industries where asbestos may be encountered, as well as for homeowners and building managers responsible for the maintenance and renovation of older properties. For those seeking a visual guide to recognize asbestos in its various forms, Kollect's comprehensive guide offers detailed images and explanations. Our guide on identifying asbestos showcases the distinct appearances of each type of asbestos, underlining the critical importance of professional assessment and handling. This valuable resource is instrumental in helping individuals identify potential asbestos materials in different environments, ensuring informed decisions regarding asbestos management and disposal.

We strongly recommend using our asbestos removal service, which includes an asbestos inspection, safe asbestos removal, disposal and recycling, emergency response and compliance assistance - should that be required.

Historical Use and Regulation in Ireland

Before the 1980s, asbestos found widespread application across various sectors in Ireland, including construction, automotive, and other industries, due to its desirable properties such as heat resistance and durability. However, as the health risks associated with asbestos exposure became increasingly evident.

Ireland has implemented strict regulations that align with European Union directives and World Health Organization guidelines. These measures are designed to manage and mitigate the risks of asbestos exposure, reflecting a commitment to safeguarding public health and ensuring a safer environment for future generations.

Health Risks

Asbestos exposure poses significant health risks, leading to serious and often life-threatening conditions. When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can cause diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and pleural thickening. Each of these conditions can severely impact health and quality of life, with symptoms often not appearing until years after exposure. Given the severe implications of asbestos-related diseases, it's crucial for those at risk to be aware of the potential health hazards. For a more comprehensive understanding of these risks, including the development, symptoms, and management of asbestos-related diseases, refer to our detailed guide on the health risks of asbestos. This guide aims to inform and educate about the dangers of asbestos, emphasising the importance of prevention and early detection.

Asbestos Management in Ireland

The process of minimising health risks associated with asbestos exposure is essential for ensuring the safety of both the public and the environment from the potential hazards of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).

  • Identification: The first critical step in this process involves the thorough surveying of buildings constructed before the year 2000. A competent professional is required to carry out these surveys to accurately identify the presence of ACMs. This step is crucial because it lays the groundwork for all subsequent actions by determining whether asbestos is present and, if so, where it is located within the building.
  • Risk Assessment: Following identification, a detailed risk assessment is conducted to evaluate the current condition of the asbestos and assess the potential risk of fiber release into the air. This assessment is vital as it helps to understand the level of risk posed by the asbestos, which in turn informs the appropriate safety measures and remediation strategies that need to be implemented to protect health and prevent exposure.
  • Remediation Measures: Based on the outcomes of the risk assessment, a range of remediation measures may be considered. These measures are tailored to the specific situation and can include encapsulating the asbestos to prevent any release of fibres, managing the asbestos in place with regular monitoring and maintenance, or completely removing the ACMs from the premises. The chosen remediation strategy is dependent on the level of risk assessed and aims to ensure the safest possible outcome for building occupants and workers.

Safe Handling and Disposal

Handling and disposing of asbestos in Ireland requires strict adherence to safety protocols and regulations. Kollect ensures that all asbestos removal is performed by certified professionals using advanced safety measures. Key aspects of our safe handling and disposal process include:

  • Licensed Removal: The removal of asbestos is a task that requires professionals who have undergone specific training and obtained the necessary licences. This ensures that those handling asbestos are knowledgeable about the risks and the correct procedures for safe removal, minimising the potential for airborne fibre release.
  • Protective Measures: The safety of workers during the asbestos removal process is paramount. Comprehensive protective measures are implemented, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators and protective suits. Additionally, asbestos materials are wetted down during removal to prevent the creation of dust, which contains dangerous asbestos fibres that can be inhaled. Following removal, asbestos is securely packaged in clearly labelled, leak-tight containers to prevent any release of fibres during transport.
  • Disposal: Asbestos waste is classified as hazardous due to its potential to cause serious health issues upon exposure. Consequently, it must be disposed of at designated waste management facilities equipped to handle hazardous materials safely. These facilities ensure that asbestos is contained and does not pose a risk to public health or the environment.

For more detailed information on the procedures and regulations surrounding the disposal of asbestos, including practical advice for homeowners and businesses, visit our guide on how to dispose of asbestos or simply get in touch and we will professionally remove the asbestos.


At Kollect, we understand the complexities and dangers associated with asbestos management. Our comprehensive services are designed to ensure safe and compliant asbestos removal across Ireland. We offer thorough asbestos inspections, certified removal, disposal, and recycling, all conducted by experienced professionals. Additionally, we provide emergency response and compliance assistance to address any immediate asbestos-related concerns. By choosing Kollect, you are prioritising safety, sustainability, and regulatory adherence, ensuring a healthier environment for everyone. Trust Kollect for all your asbestos management needs.