Most people know about the health risks surrounding Asbestos, but most people are unaware that their Artexed ceilings may contain  small amounts of White Asbestos.

Up until the mid 1980's a small amount of white Asbestos (less than 5%) was added to Artex to help make it stronger and easier to apply. The Artex is perfectly safe while it sits on your ceilings or walls and it is entirely safe to paint over,
and is entirely safe to live with.

If you suspect that your ceilings were Artexed prior to the mid 1980's please be aware that you should not try to remove the Artex  until you can establish whether there is any Asbestos content present. The problem being that if you scrape it whilst the substance is dry,  it causes the asbestos fibres to be released into the air. 

To properly remove the Artex, the room needs to be isolated and sealed off, the Artex  needs to be wet; it needs to be soaked to prevent Asbestos fibres being released.
The room should be completely emptied to prevent contamination and disposable protective clothing and suitable masks should be worn.

*I have only told you about the removal process to give you some idea of the scale of the job. I would never advise you do something like this yourselves. It is one of those jobs best left to professionals.  

If you are concerned about this subject, there are companies who for a fee will check the Artex for any Asbestos content by sending a sample off to a laboratory.

(Images taken from wikipedia)

Asbestos comes in various guises. The commonly known varieties are Blue Asbestos, Brown Asbestos and White Asbestos.

Blue Asbestos and Brown Asbestos are the versions that are regarded as the most dangerous types - their fibres (on a microscopic level) are sharp and have been known to attach themselves to the lining of the lungs (see top image opposite).

The fibres of white asbestos on the other hand are curly and are considered to be the least dangerous of the asbestos types (see bottom image opposite)

 I have always been led to believe that the health risks associated with white asbestos are minimal.  That's not to say precautions shouldn't be taken when dealing with it.