Asbestos is a material which was often used when building homes between the 1950s and 1990s. Therefore, if your house has been built during this time period there is a chance that asbestos is present.
The problem with asbestos is that the material was deemed a health risk when damaged or disturbed. Consequently, the use of asbestos is now regulated by law and the material is banned from use in building work. We have put together this blog to help you understand asbestos and know exactly what to do if you find it in your home.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural mineral composed of thin fibres. Before people understood the associated dangers, it was used in homes as a strong, low cost and effective building material. However, it was discovered that the fibres in asbestos are extremely toxic and dangerous when they become airborne and are inhaled. As the fibres are so strong, your body cannot break them down. As a result, they begin to cause damage to the lung tissue. Fibres will only become airborne when the material becomes damaged.
In many cases, the asbestos present is undisturbed, so won’t pose an immediate health risk. But to ensure health and safety, we always recommend that you get a professional to check out the areas of risk and remove the material if required.
Where Could Asbestos Be in My Home?
Asbestos was a very effective building material and used throughout many homes. For example, the substance was added into plaster and cement to add strength. Common places you might find asbestos in your home include:
- Vinyl flooring
- Insulation boards within walls
- Roofing felt and tiles
- Coatings and textured paints on walls and ceilings
- Cement water tanks
- Cement gutters and rain pipes
- Bathroom elements such as bath panels, toilets and sinks
If you suspect asbestos, it is critical to keep the item in place. Then, trained professionals can help you survey and remove the material. If you try to remove it yourself, you risk breathing in some of the tiny and dangerous fibres.
Steps to take if you find asbestos in your home:
- Don’t panic! Leave the area alone. If you have accidentally damaged the asbestos, don’t try and clear up the mess. By doing this, you could make the situation worse.
- Contact professionals who can give you a detailed survey. This will determine whether or not asbestos is present in your home. Additionally, the report will advise on the areas the material can be found within your home. The team will then provide you with recommendations on how the asbestos needs to be dealt with in order to keep your home safe.
- Use the recommendations given to guide you moving forward. If the asbestos containing material is dangerous and a risk to your health, you will need to organise professionals to remove the asbestos. However, if the material containing asbestos poses little to no health risk, the advice may be removal is not required.
These are very important steps to take if you find asbestos in your home. You will minimise the risk to your own health by employing trained professionals to deal with your situation.