Each year, an estimated 4,700 people die of asbestos-related diseases in the UK, which can include mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
If you think you might have asbestos in your home, you’ve got to carry out an asbestos survey. Why? Because, otherwise, you may be unwittingly exposing yourself and your family to harmful asbestos dust.
How can I tell if there’s any asbestos in my home?
Generally, the age of your home can say a lot.
Although asbestos is incredibly old (it’s thought to have been discovered over 4,500 years ago), in the UK it was used in homes from the 1950s to the 1990s. If you live in house built after this period, you should be safe. Older homes are much more likely to contain asbestos.
If your home was renovated or built before 1999, when asbestos was officially banned in the UK, there may be some risk of it being present in your home.
Those that live in rented properties are well within their rights to ask landlords and estate agents for information regarding asbestos surveys. Based on the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 , landlords that derive income from properties are duty-bound to carry out asbestos surveys and to enforce an asbestos management plan.
What does asbestos look like?
Unfortunately, asbestos comes in all shapes and sizes. There is no uniform appearance for it. It can be blue, brown or white (as these are the most popular types), and it’s often mixed in with other products, so it isn’t always easy to spot.
It can often be easier to spot asbestos if you know what kind of materials it’s usually found in. These can include:
● Insulation boards
● Floor tiles
● Pipe insulation (lagging)
● Spray coatings
● Artex (ceiling coatings)
● Roof tiles
● Bitumen (asphalt)
Where can asbestos be found?
Some of the most common hiding places for asbestos can include:
● Crawl spaces
● Boiler rooms
● Bath panels
● Central heating flues
● Garden sheds
How can I deal with asbestos?
One of the most important things to remember if you think your home may have asbestos in it is that you should never touch it. Asbestos can be incredibly temperamental, so even the smallest disturbance can release harmful fibres.
When maintained properly, asbestos is completely harmless. It can be left within your home and it won’t cause any problems. In fact, most experts will advise you that it’s safer to maintain your asbestos rather than to rush into having it removed.
In certain cases though, asbestos removal is the best way forward, in which case your chosen asbestos company will be able to handle the job for you. You’ll then need to contact your local council to find out where you can dispose of it.
Some experts can tell asbestos apart from safe materials at first glance, but some products are harder to determine. If this is the case, your suspected asbestos products will need to be sent off for a special asbestos testing procedure, which should only take a few days.
So, whether you’ve just moved into a new home or you’ve lived there for years, it’s important that you get an asbestos survey to find out whether you’re at risk.
Have you booked yours yet?
Aurora Johnson currently blogs and writes content for Northern Insulation – a UK asbestos removal comany. She is an accomplished writer, producing blogs and web content on topics ranging from asbestos, plumbing and interior design.
(Images supplied by author, courtesy of Shutterstock)
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