What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring material, extensively used as a building material between the 1950s and 1980s.Its use was due to its many useful properties including resistance to heat and fire, until the adverse health effect of exposure to loose fibres was known. It has also been used in household products such as oven gloves, fire blankets and ironing boards. Properties built after 2000 are highly unlikely to contain any asbestos containing materials.
Why may asbestos be a problem?
Asbestos containing material is safe if it is left undisturbed and undamaged. However, if a material containing asbestos becomes damaged it may release fibres into the air which could be harmful if breathed in. If you believe that you have asbestos material that is damaged in your home, try to isolate the area, dampen the suspected material, and then contact us on 0300 123 2222. When you contact us we will check our asbestos register, this is a register of all our homes where we know asbestos containing materials are present. It may be necessary for us to carry out a survey and take samples to analyse for your safety. If this is the case we will let you know and organise the survey. If we know the damaged material contains asbestos we will arrange for it to be removed.
Where are asbestos containing materials commonly found?
- Decorative coatings on ceilings and walls such as some artex products
- Linings for walls, ceilings, ducts and risers
- Bath panels
- Floor tiles and adhesive
- Cement products, boarding around fire places, loft hatches and under stairs.
- Eaves and soffits
- Rain water pipe and gutters
- Garage and shed roofs (corrugated sheets)
- Garage and shed walls.
How can I identify asbestos containing materials in my home?
The simple answer is you can’t the only way is to have a sample taken by specialist surveyors and the sample analysed in a laboratory.
Carrying out DIY
If you are carrying out DIY in your home you should take extra care. It is important that you:
- Do not drill, cut or sand any materials suspected of containing asbestos
- Do not cut or break off any parts of asbestos products
- Use hand tools instead of power tools
- Keep the material wet to avoid producing dust
- Wear disposable paper overalls
- Wear a disposable mask CE marked to EN149 with FFP3
- Keep others away from the work area
- Clean up carefully using wet wipes or damp clothes after completing the work. Do not use your vacuum cleaner as this could spread the dust around.
- Remove overalls carefully avoiding raising dust; double bag them with other cleaning materials, and mark the bag asbestos waste.
Disposing of asbestos waste
Asbestos waste is classed as hazardous and should be double packed in stout polythene bags and labelled Asbestos Waste. If you are removing an asbestos cement sheet, you should remove it as individual sheets and not cut it up. If it is dry, spray the sheets with water while you’re dismantling them to avoid dust. Then wrap them in double polythene sheets marked Asbestos Waste.
Do not put asbestos waste in your dustbin. It needs to be disposed of at a properly licensed waste site. Click the link on the link on the right hand side to see details of local recycling centres. Check with the waste and recycling centre that they have facilities and space to accept the waste.