Get advice on asbestos removal
Private properties or business premises:
- Phone: 0161 770 2244
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 0161 770 4147
- Email: email@example.com
To report suspected asbestos dumped on land:
- Phone: 0161 770 6644
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Asbestos in your home
Asbestos in your home is most likely to be in the form of cement asbestos (a light grey, hard material that contains 10-15% asbestos fibres).
Cement asbestos was used in products such as profiled sheeting, slates, rainwater goods (gutters, down pipes and troughs), cisterns and sumps.
The fibres in asbestos cement material are firmly bound in the material and will only be released if the product is damaged. Gradual weathering also releases fibres, but at such a low rate that the risk of exposure is extremely low if the products are left undisturbed.
You can legally remove asbestos found on your property but you must use suitable dust masks, gloves and disposable overalls.
The cement should be damped down with water to prevent the release of fibres and the cement sheets should be kept whole rather than broken up. Any smaller or loose items should be put into strong plastic bags and sealed.
Cement asbestos must be disposed of at special facilities:
Asbestos in your business premises
If you have maintenance and repair responsibilities for a non-domestic property (either through a contract/tenancy agreement or because you own it), then you have a duty to manage the risk from asbestos by:
- Finding out if there is any, its amount and what condition it is in
- Presuming materials contain asbestos unless you have strong evidence that they do not
- Making and keeping an up to date record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials
- Assessing the risk
- Preparing a detailed plan setting out how you are going to manage the risk
- Putting the plan into action
- Reviewing and monitoring your plan and the arrangements made to put the plan in place
- Providing information on the location and condition of the material to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb it.
If there are any asbestos containing materials within a property that is in need of work, then these works must be undertaken by a contractor licensed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Guidance on managing asbestos in premises:
- Managing my asbestos - a step-by-step guide to the duty to manage asbestos
- Asbestos licensing - Health and Safety Executive website
- Asbestos health and safety - Health and Safety Executive website
- Managing and working with asbestos - Health and Safety Executive website
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used in a range of building materials or household products, generally to make them more rigid and fire resistant. There are three main types of asbestos still found in homes and business premises, all of which are dangerous.
- Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
- Amosite (brown asbestos)
- Chyrsolite (white asbestos)
Where is asbestos?
As building material, asbestos was used in properties built between the 1950s and 1980s. You are most likely to come across asbestos in the following:
- Sprayed coatings and loose insulation packaging - generally used in ceiling breaks, around structural steel work and ceiling voids as a fire retardant.
- Moulded or preformed lagging generally used in thermal insulation around pipes and boilers
- Insulating boards used for fire protection, thermal insulation, portioning and ducts
- Some ceiling and floor tiles
- Asbestos cement products, which can be fully or semi-compressed into flat or corrugated sheets. Corrugated sheets are largely used as roofing and wall cladding
Why is it dangerous?
Asbestos is only a risk to health if asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. This can lead to the following asbestos related diseases:
- Asbestosis - scarring of the lungs by asbestos fibres
- Mesothelioma - a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium (chest and abdominal wall lining)
- Lung cancer
- Pleural thickening - fibrosis or scarring of the pleura (membrane surrounding the lungs)
Anyone who disturbs asbestos that has deteriorated or been damaged (and is releasing fibres) can be at risk. This could include drilling, sawing or cutting into the fabric of a premises where there is asbestos present.
There is usually anything from 15 to 60 years between first exposure to asbestos and onset of disease. Past exposure to asbestos currently kills 3,000 people a year in Great Britain. This number is expected to go on rising for the next ten years. There is no cure for asbestos related diseases. Only by preventing or minimizing exposure now will these diseases eventually be wiped out.