A ceiling can help protect you from asbestos-containing dust, a new study shows.
The research is published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The study involved studying dust collected from the ceilings of a house in St Patrick’s, Co Tipperary, and found that the ceiling can protect against asbestos-related disease.
The ceiling was covered with a thin film of asbestos-derived polystyrene foam, which acts as a filter to absorb any dust particles that are airborne.
In a controlled laboratory setting, this film was removed, the study found.
The authors found that dust collected in the ceiling had an estimated lifetime value of around 7.4 years.
“Our study is the first to report the effect of an asbestos-based flooring on the life span of a large sample of the ceiling dust in an urban environment,” said Dr Alain Jager, lead author of the study.
The floor was covered in a thin layer of asbestos, which the researchers believe acts as an anti-microbial filter.
The particles collected by the dust filter are absorbed by the polystyrenes, and these are then released into the air.
“This results in a net positive effect, because the dust can be removed from the building and the building can be cleaned up by the community,” Dr Jager said.
“The floors are also relatively safe from dust pollution because the asbestos material is a highly porous material, which is designed to absorb water.”
So the floor can be used to prevent further deterioration of the building, for example, the roof.
“The researchers tested the effect on health of the asbestos floor, using a range of health parameters including respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
They found that while the asbestos-covered floor had a negligible effect on these parameters, it did have a significant negative effect on cancer.”
Although we could not assess whether the protective effect of the floor on cancer was due to the protective effects of the polyethylene foam or due to its ability to absorb dust particles, it was likely that it is due to a higher rate of asbestos exposure,” Dr Mertens said.
The results were confirmed by another study, which found that asbestos-free floors in homes had an increased risk of respiratory diseases compared to those with asbestos-contaminated floors.
The effects of a floor containing asbestos are also known to affect the quality of life for people living in an asbestos contaminated building.
Dr Jager says that the findings in the new study are important because it provides evidence that ceilings that contain asbestos can be beneficial for people who live in an indoor asbestos-filled building.”
If you have indoor asbestos floors, you’re at greater risk of developing respiratory diseases, especially if you live in a densely populated environment, as in homes with large populations,” he said.
Read more:”Our results show that indoor asbestos flooring may actually have a beneficial effect on indoor air quality.
It is also important to note that indoor floors are less toxic than outdoor ones, and that the indoor floor is less likely to cause skin irritation.