Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that was widely used in the UK for its fire-resistant and insulating properties. However, we now know it to be a dangerous carcinogen and asbestos been banned in the UK since 1999.
Asbestos is a fibrous material that can break down into small, airborne particles. When these particles are inhaled, they can become lodged in the lungs and cause a number of serious health problems, including asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Asbestos can be found in a wide variety of building materials in homes built prior to 2000, including (not an exhaustive list):
· Wall and ceiling finishes
· Pipe lagging
· Gas fires
· Electric storage heaters
· Rainwater goods and waste pipes
· External joinery including soffit, fascia and barge boards
· Vent pipes
If you live in, or are purchasing, a property built before 2000, it may well contain asbestos. If asbestos is found, it is important to have it removed by a licensed asbestos contractor. DIY removal of asbestos is not recommended, as it can be dangerous if not done correctly and have serious health implications.
The cost of asbestos removal will vary depending on the extent of the work required and removal is not always necessarily the safest recommended course of action, there are other options which may need to be considered including encapsulation.
Asbestos is a serious health hazard, but it is important to remember that it is only dangerous if it is disturbed. If you live in a property that contains asbestos, you should take steps to protect yourself and your family from exposure.
Here are some tips for staying safe around asbestos:
· Do not disturb asbestos-containing materials.
· Hire a licensed asbestos contractor to remove asbestos.
· Keep children and pets away from areas where asbestos is present.
Full, detailed guidance on how to safely handle and dispose of asbestos is shown at https://www.asbestos.com/exposure/handling-disposing-asbestos/.
Asbestos identification is a key part of all surveys we undertake at South East Surveyors to provide our clients assurance as to any risks they may face when purchasing a home built prior to 2000.
Please get in touch if you have any concerns or would like any further advice.