Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

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textbook
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Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by textbook »

Posted a picture of this awhile ago and the Scruff said it was an asbestos cement water tank. Another plumber in my house said the same thing. Not a problem if you don't move it is what these guys said. Is it problem putting towels and baby's sleeping bag and clothes under it?
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by jape »

Small asbestos particles are the problem as far as I know, small particles that get in lungs etc? All materials break down over time, less so if not abraded or the binders breaking down so I may be wrong but I would seal or cover it at least or even better replace it - and I would not risk clothes under it that may collect any particles, especially for kids and towels where you are drying hair and face. Don't think it matters if a particle gets up your backside but doubt i would risk that either.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by textbook »

The tank is above the clothes in the photo.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by someone-else »

Asbestos cement is NOT dangerous if it just sits there, its held together by cement. (Probably why its called asbestos cement)
It only becomes dangerous when you cut or break it, and since its a water tank I can't see either of those happening.

If it were to "give off fibres" would it not collapse as it becomes unstable due to losing fibres? and if it were the case it would have been changed years ago for fear of it.............collapsing.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by thescruff »

As above not a problem unless disturbed, nothing to stop you sealing or even painting it.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by textbook »

thescruff wrote:As above not a problem unless disturbed, nothing to stop you sealing or even painting it.
Ok so carry on leaving kid's clothes under it and towels then. Don't fully understand how to seal it, but could put a sheet under bottom to catch these 'deadly fibres'? Between tank and clothes.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by jape »

The deadly particles are tiny and don't just fall down, they float in the air if the air moves like when you open the door or breathe on them ... usually the risks come from long term exposure to these fibres (plasterers, insulators, roofing contractors etc) who may breath in enough to cause lung problems. Unlikely to get asbestosis from an airing cupboard tank especially as the fibres are encased in cement. But where the tank was drilled for pipes, at the base where supported and even internally the smooth unbroken cement finish may deteriorate. Very unlikely (I would assume) to release much in the way of fibres but the risk is there if very small.

A cloth underneath won't do much, painting the tank or sealing it with PVA would do much more.

Most building workers have worked under risky conditions, certainly if over twenty or thirty years of agea nd the older ones of us will remember working away cutting asbestos sheet and corro with no idea of danger and certainly seeing clouds of fibres in the air if ever removing pipe insulation. Some of us get asbestosis and related cancers and diseases. Then again we worked with many toxic fumes and dangerous tools without warning or training and some would say the H&S issues today are far too exaggerated. Fine unless you or yours die. The problem was that asbestos mining and processing involved whole communities not just a few trade workers. So it couldn't be lost amongs statistics or covered up although they (industry and govt.) tried.

Mind you, our kids need to eat dirt and take some risks or they become little poofy w*nkers and turn into politicians or lawyers.

So as said by others, no large danger, but for me, personally, I remove all ills and harm from my and all other children where I can, that is my job. I would not place kid's clothing under it simply because I have that choice and knowledge. Yes there are many other risks but that is one you can control.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by Rorschach »

Is any dust coming off the tank? I highly doubt it would as asbestos is very stable unless disturbed. I would not have any worries about putting clothes in there.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by thescruff »

And the inside of the tank if wet so unlikely to be any hazardous dust or spores floating around.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by philprime »

If you have concerns, paint the outside of the tank with low solvent paint, don't sand it thou as that can release fibres

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/a16.pdf
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by big-all »

i fully agree asbestos is an evil fibre but in general air polution smoking alcohol traffic fumes are far more harmful even fatty food or sugars in excess are more off a risk if in excessive amounts
you have to take the risk in proportion to the danger
in general a 50 year old tank wont do as much damage 10 fags a day or a walk alongside a main road will tend to be more dangerous
we are all ------------------still learning
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by Beachcomber »

If there are any fibres floating about, they will be swept up into the air every time you open the cupboard and circulate around the house.

If uncertain, then do as has been suggested and paint it to seal it. Perhaps also box it in.
Better still, get it removed and replaced if that will give you more peace of mind.
If at first you don't succeed - remove all evidence that you tried.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by davyp1 »

Beachcomber wrote:If there are any fibres floating about, they will be swept up into the air every time you open the cupboard and circulate around the house.

If uncertain, then do as has been suggested and paint it to seal it. Perhaps also box it in.
Better still, get it removed and replaced if that will give you more peace of mind.

If you got a quote from a specialist company you would get a shock!
Their quote would probably include the following:-

  • Temporary polythene cocoon erected around the ASBESTOS TANK
    Guys in Disposable contamination suits
    Lockable dedicated skip
    Shower & decontamination unit for opperatives
    Method statement
    Risk assessment


Now before anyone feels provoked into giving me a kicking, I would point out that all the above was mobilised to remove a square of Asbestos cement approx 40cm square from the kitchen of some 75 No. High Rise Flats in a northern City some 14 years ago!
Whats more, the Cocoons ect were dismantled and moved from flat to flat
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by Stooby2 »

There are companies that you can send a small sample off to have it tested to see if it contains asbestos. You juts soak an area, break off a tiny bit (keep spraying while you do), seal it inside two bags and send it off to them.

If you Google "asbestos testing uk" there's quite a few companies doing this.

I did this with my old garage roof, which turned out to be plain concrete sheets and saved me a small fortune.
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Re: Is it safe to put clothes under an asbestos water tank?

Post by Dekmantel »

It hasn't been removed or warned about it which suggests it's not dangerous unless touched or moved let's say. I personally would not risk anything when it comes to asbestos, but legally and practically, you're probably fine.

Like others have said, if you're worried, call in the professionals.
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