Asbestos in Artex | The Facts


Artex is a successful brand name belonging to Artex Ltd part of the Saint-Gobain group. It was the name used for a textured coating that proved popular from the 1970’s onward. So successful, that the name is associated with every textured coating found in UK homes.

Textured coatings like ‘Artex’ contained 3-5% Chrysotile asbestos and was most dangerous when opening the bags to mix as there was always a puff of dust from the bag and further dust when mixing. When applied to the walls and ceilings the asbestos was bonded within the mix and covered with an emulsion paint that can still be seen in many homes today.

Textured coatings and Chrysotile

Artex Ltd stopped using asbestos in the manufacture of its product in the mid 1980s but there was no product recalls so consider the fact that DIY warehouses, builders merchants and retailers were full off 100’s of thousands of bags of the product on their shelves manufactured previously.

Don’t assume that any textured coating applied after the mid-1980s did not contain asbestos. It would have taken years to run down stocks of the asbestos containing type globally.

There were other manufacturers of textured coatings like Artex adding asbestos to strengthen the product! Chrysotile use was not banned until November 1999 but again the run down in any retail stocks would have taken longer.

Textured coating contained 3-5% Chrysotile spread throughout the application, that doesn’t sound like much but visually on a ceiling of twenty square meters (m2) around one square meter would be pure asbestos equivalent.

Chrysotile, also known as ‘white’ asbestos is a serpentine fibre, the fibres are ‘snake’ like and are classified by the World Health Organisation as a class 1 Carcinogen, a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue and the main cause of asbestosis.

How many fibres do you need to inhale before Chrysotile can cause you harm? We don’t know, neither does the medical and scientific community. What we do know is that preventing Chrysotile fibres from being inhaled won’t cause you any harm. Prevention is better than the cure and where asbestos disease is concerned, there is no cure.

“Throughout the last thirty years, scientific organisations and governmental agencies have thoroughly and meticulously reviewed extensive published data on asbestos and have concluded that all of its commercially viable fibre types (including amosite, anthophyllite, actinolite, chrysotile, crocidolite, and tremolite) cause disease and death resulting from asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and cancers of the larynx and ovary.

There has not been identified any safe level of exposure to any form of asbestos; i.e. no threshold value below which all individuals would be risk-free of contracting an asbestos-related disease.

Therefore, we support the immediate prohibition of the use of any form of asbestos-containing products, including those containing chrysotile, and call for their complete elimination.”