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Anthrax

Sysco Environmental provide commercial customers with comprehensive anthrax testing of historic plaster in listed buildings.

Anthrax is a potentially fatal infection caused by the Bacillus anthracis. The main source of the disease is livestock and animal hair used in the industry. Historically, the most at risk were people who came in frequent contact with the animal material. These were the people working or transporting wool and leather, workers involved in animal slaughter and bone processing, animal product storage and distribution.

In recent years the professionals working in the construction industry were also subjected to small risk of exposure to anthrax spores. The risk of exposure becomes significant when working with historic plaster reinforces with animal hair, working in old tanneries or wool processing sites and during reclamation of former industrial sites linked with animal production.

Our site surveyors will perform a comprehensive anthrax testing which typically involves:

As with many other hazards, the Bacillus anthracis is subject to COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations. Sysco Environmental can perform a comprehensive anthrax testing, sampling, and analysis of materials likely to be contaminated by anthrax spores. We can confidently determine whether anthrax is present and can advise our clients accordingly. We will ensure that your workers use appropriate protection measures, and that the risk of exposure and infection is significantly reduced.

Our surveyors are fully trained members of BOHS familiar with sampling, analysis, interpretation of results, and required control measures. Our anthrax testing protocols are based on the World Health Organisation guidance and BS 10175:2011 +A2:2017 investigation of potentially contaminated sites.

The infective dosage for contracting pulmonary anthrax is generally considered to be in the order of several thousand spores, and statistics recorded by the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) show that such high quantities of viable anthrax agents are extremely unlikely to be present in plaster. Much lower levels can be sufficient to cause the cutaneous form, but cutaneous anthrax is easily prevented. Common sense and attention to detail in the implementation of good personal and workplace hygiene practices on site will be enough to control the risk adequately. The risk of contracting the disease in the refurbishment of historic buildings can be reduced still further by maintaining the plasterwork in good condition by regular inspection, sealing with paint or limewash, and repair.

Simple, effective precautions and good hygiene practices on site will be adequate to maintain the risk at a negligible level while satisfying the requirements of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations). We are confident that our company is the perfect solution for your anthrax testing needs.