Last weeks Kiwa Oesterbaai (a part of Kiwa Compliance) did a large-scale asbestos survey on Bonaire. The main focus was on asbestos presence on roofs of buildings. First visual check if roofs are made of rooftiles, metal or cement corrugated sheets. Older cement roofs can be asbestos containing. Over the last ten years new cement roofs are made of asbestos-free materials.
To determine if asbestos is present in cement roofs is not easy. ‘after hearing about the large-scale asbestos survey’, Joris Gribnau tells us, ‘concerned locals from Bonaire asked us to additionally inspect and test their buildings, because lots of asbestos containing materials have been used by contractors in the past.’
In this light Kiwa Oesterbaai took samples from Bonaire to their Laboratory. To determine if asbestos is present, (and if so which type, what amount and which percentage) the samples need to be tested. Kiwa Inspection & Testing in Rotterdam (also a part of Kiwa Compliance) is an accredited high-tech Laboratory, which specializes in analysis for the presence of asbestos and other hazardous materials.
In the laboratory, an analyst inspects a piece of cement taken from a site on Bonaire. ‘First we check the material using a microscope. To make it easier to visually detect asbestos we sometimes break the material first. By enlarging the material under a microscope I can see if there is asbestos present and which type it is.’ The Kiwa Inspection & Testing analyst continues. ‘I am trained and experienced in determining the type and can also make a statement on the percentage of asbestos in the material. In this instance I see two different types of asbestos in one sample. Sometimes I have to reconfirm my analysis by adding liquid which makes the asbestos react in certain colors.
Although there is no asbestos Laboratory yet present on Bonaire itself, much of the asbestos survey can be done visually. ‘A professional visual survey on this scale will suffice for determination of asbestos presence. To make Bonaire safe and asbestos free lots of work has to be done’ Mr. Gribnau from Kiwa Oesterbaai, who is responsible for the project, says. ‘We are looking forward to work with the Bonaire Island Government and together start a permanent training and educational center, so locals can become official asbestos inspectors.’ Mr. Gribnau from Kiwa Oesterbaai continues. ‘It will stimulate local employment and other countries in the Caribbean region might also benefit from certified asbestos inspectors from Bonaire; asbestos doesn’t have a nationality after all.’
If you have questions about the safety, want your specific material to be tested or want more information on asbestos in general, please contact Kiwa Oesterbaai / Kiwa Compliance: www.kiwaoesterbaai.nl / firstname.lastname@example.org