This hazardous material could be lurking in your home, so make sure you're clued up!
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in a variety of building materials to make them fire retardant and more robust.
Why is it dangerous?
When asbestos is disturbed it releases microscopic fibres, into the atmosphere, which can be up to 2000 times thinner than a human hair. If inhaled in high concentrations they can become trapped deep within the lining of the lungs and in some cases work their way through the lung lining, causing asbestos related diseases that can take 15-60 years to develop.
According to the Health and Safety Executive there are currently around 4,000 people dying each year from asbestos related diseases. However, most people who are exposed to low levels of asbestos fibres experience no ill effects.
Where is it likely to be in my home?
What should I do if I think there’s asbestos in my house?
It’s hard to identify, so seek professional advice from an asbestos specialist.
Don't interfere with it because it’s safe unless damaged or disturbed.
Avoid sanding, drilling or sawing materials that you think contain asbestos.
Don’t attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or insulation board – they can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor.
Can I remove it myself?
Yes, but only non-licenced asbestos and it’s not recommended. If you are going to remove it yourself take the following precautions:
Check it has no contact with electricity.
Saturate the material with a water and washing up liquid solution.
Wear an asbestos approved dust mask and disposable overall.
Avoid breaking it up.
Contain small or loose pieces of material and label clearly.
Clean up with a damp cloth and contain it before it dries out.
Don’t use a vacuum cleaner because fibres could pass through the filter.
Seal off the area you are working in.
How do I dispose of asbestos?
Asbestos is classed as hazardous waste, so it cannot be disposed of via your household waste collection. Seek advice from your local council about collection services or specialist disposal facilities.
Words and Image: Asbestos Surveying Ltd