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Frequently Asked Questions

Scientific Services strives to be an informative consultancy and we believe that answers to frequently asked questions are a useful resource for visitors to this website.

Petri dish filled with a pink substance.Please click on the links below to find answers to common questions, but please note that the information provided is simply a point of reference, and should never be used as a replacement for expert advice on such matters.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural fibrous substance and its properties make it an effective fire proofing and insulation material. There are six types of asbestos that have been utilised commercially, but the ones most commonly found within the UK are: Chrysotile (white), Amosite (brown) and Crocidolite (blue). All three types of asbestos are dangerous.

A UKAS accredited laboratory such as Scientific Services, can identify the presence of these asbestos types in a range of materials through asbestos bulk testing.

Why and when is asbestos dangerous?

If asbestos fibres are inhaled they can become wedged within your lungs, which can lead to lung diseases such as cancer. The risk of developing cancer and other lung related diseases increases if you repeatedly inhale asbestos fibres over a number of years.

If asbestos containing materials are disturbed or damaged it is likely that asbestos fibres will be released into the air, this is when asbestos is dangerous and likely to be inhaled. In contrast, for most circumstances where asbestos containing materials are undisturbed, in good condition and not damaged, it can be safer to leave them in situ and manage the risks because the asbestos fibres are unlikely to be airborne.

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Where am I likely to find asbestos?

Throughout the UK from the 1950s to the mid 1980s asbestos was used in hundreds of building materials, such as insulation board, lagging, resins, bitumen, textiles and decorative coatings. In addition, the use of asbestos cement in construction of premises continued until 1999; when the import and use of all asbestos was prohibited.

Any premises or building that was either built, or have undergone maintenance work between the dates above, are likely to contain some type of asbestos material. An asbestos survey would identify the location of asbestos containing materials within a building, and Scientific Services can assist you in arranging this.

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What regulations cover asbestos and 'the duty to manage'?

The Control of Asbestos Regulations (CAR) 2012 came into force on the 6th of April 2012; updating the previous asbestos regulations, which introduced the 'duty to manage' in 2006. These regulations prohibit the importation, the supply, and new use of all types of asbestos containing materials.

For more information on these regulations, please either contact a member of Scientific Services' experienced team, or refer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

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Where can I find a licensed asbestos removal company?

You can refer to the 'Health and Safety Executive' (HSE) website, which will provide a full list of asbestos license holders, or contact the HSE on 0845 345 0055 to discuss any queries that you may have. Alternatively, our team at Scientific Services would be able to provide information and advice on the appointment of a suitable asbestos removal contractor.

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Where can I find a UKAS accredited testing laboratory?

Scientific Services is a UKAS accredited asbestos testing laboratory and should be able to assist with all your asbestos testing requirements, but for a full list of accredited laboratories throughout the UK, please refer to the UKAS Testing website.

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Are there recognised health risks related to swimming and spa pools?

Due to a wide range of factors, if swimming and spa pools are poorly managed they can become hazardous environments. The water quality can be specifically affected by pathogenic bacteria and protozoa, which, if allowed to develop and cultivate, can lead to disease amongst users.

Scientific Services has a range of swimming and spa pool management services that can help reduce the likelihood of you encountering such problems with your pool water quality.

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How can I ensure that my swimming and spa pool water is safe?

The hazards associated with swimming and spa pools can be significantly reduced through the completion of a risk assessment, monthly microbiological testing, routine chemistry tests, an adequate chemistry treatment system, monitoring of pH levels, adequate maintenance checks and servicing of filters of equipment. Scientific Services has a range of consultancy services that can assist you in ensuring the safety and quality of your pool water.

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What guidelines and legislation exist for the maintenance of swimming pool water quality standards?

The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) has developed guidelines that are depicted within their book 'Swimming Pool Water'. This recommends that swimming pool water quality is analysed on a monthly basis through a range of microbiological and chemical tests. The BSI Code of Practice PAS39: 2003 also incorporates these guidelines, and our swimming and spa pool consultancy services can assist in ensuring that your swimming pool is in compliant with these.

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What guidelines and legislation exist for the maintenance of spa pool water quality standards?

The BSI Code of Practice PAS39: 2003 incorporates the guidelines developed by the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG), which are depicted within their book 'Swimming Pool Water'. These recommend that spa pool water quality is analysed on a monthly basis, through a range of microbiological and chemical tests. In addition, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) guidance on the management of spa pools exists.

Health and safety law also infringes upon the management of spa pools because they are a recognised source of Legionnaires' disease. For more information on your legislative obligations refer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Approved Code of Practice and guidance document - Legionnaires' disease - The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems (L8).

Scientific Services' swimming and spa pool consultancy services can help to ensure that your spa pool complies with all guidelines and current legislation.

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What is UKAS?

UKAS is an acronym for the United Kingdom Accreditation Service; the only accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally recognised standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services.

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