Airborne asbestos fibre levels in buildings: a summary of UK measurements

IARC Sci Publ. 1989:(90):277-90.


The UK Health and Safety Executive, in conjunction with the Department of the Environment, has carried out a number of surveys of airborne asbestos fibre concentrations in buildings. All samples have been collected on membrane filters and analysed by analytical transmission electron microscopy. Four categories of buildings under normal occupation have been investigated; non-domestic buildings containing sprayed or trowelled asbestos, domestic buildings containing sprayed asbestos or asbestos plaster, buildings with warm air heaters containing asbestos and buildings without asbestos materials. A number of buildings have also been surveyed during and after the removal of asbestos materials. The choice of measurement indices and analytical procedures is reviewed, before measurements are compared in terms of the concentration of asbestos fibres greater than 5 microns long. The decision whether to remove asbestos from occupied buildings is discussed with reference to the associated cost and risk. In the present survey, management of undamaged asbestos appeared preferable to large-scale removal.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Asbestos / analysis*
  • Construction Materials
  • Facility Design and Construction*
  • United Kingdom


  • Air Pollutants
  • Asbestos