Many people have worries about asbestos, but undisturbed asbestos usually poses no problems. Asbestos products are found in most homes and, if they are in a good state of repair and left undisturbed, they present no hazard to health.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a range of building materials to make them more rigid and fire resistant. It has also been used in household products such as ironing boards and oven gloves.
Asbestos was used extensively as a building material in Great Britain from the 1950s through to the mid 1980s.
Some of the areas in your home where you may find asbestos include:
- eaves, gutters, and rainwater fall pipes
- garage and shed roofs
- roof tiles
- flue pipes
- soil stacks
- textured coating (ARTEX) - usually before 1990
- ceiling and wall boards
- fire stop panels
- bath panels
- loose asbestos packing between floors and in partition walls
- floor tiles
Most people are exposed to low amounts of asbestos present in the atmosphere with no ill effects. Asbestos fibres and dust are potentially very dangerous if inhaled in higher concentrations over a period of time, when they can cause serious lung diseases including cancer. The symptoms of these diseases often do not appear for between 20 -30 years after exposure to asbestos.
Anyone who disturbs asbestos whether it has deteriorated or been damaged to the extent that it releases fibres may be at risk. If you undertake work that involves drilling, sawing, abrading or cutting into the fabric of any material containing asbestos you could potentially be at risk.
What to do if you think you have asbestos in your home
If you are concerned about any suspect material in your home, consider that it may contain asbestos until proven otherwise. It is sometimes necessary for us to take a sample to identify the type of asbestos. You should not carry out structural repairs or improvements to your home above and beyond cleaning and basic decorating unless you have checked with us first. We may not give permission if we feel there is a likelihood of removing or damaging asbestos products.
Any unplanned structural damage to your home, whether internal or external, that may have exposed asbestos products must be reported to us immediately. For example, if asbestos cement guttering falls into the garden due to extreme weather conditions.
Do not attempt to remove any asbestos products by yourself. Asbesos waste must be disposed of in a safe manner to a licenced site. Please do not place it in wheelie bins.
To report any concerns about asbestos or arrange removal from Council properties, please contact the Repairs Hotline on Free Phone 0800 587 56 59
Please use this link to view a Government Leaflet on asbestos; what it is, how it is managed and the likely risks.
Please read the leaflet before doing any work in your home.
If you need further advice please contact Housing Services on 01246 345401