Buildings constructed or refurbished before the mid-1980s probably contained asbestos. Because asbestos fibres have a strong resistance to heat and chemicals, it was a popular fireproofing material used in the fabric of buildings.
In the UK, asbestos was identified as a dangerous substance in the early 1990s and finally banned in 1999. The Health & Safety Executive recommend owners with a property that was built or renovated before 2000 to take precautions.
In homes built before the mid-1980s, asbestos is almost certainly present in floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles and flashing, siding, insulation, pipe cement, joint compounds and many other places.
If you are planning a DIY project, it is recommended that you understand which parts of your home or commercial property could cause a contamination.
For an extensive list of places where asbestos is likely to be lurking in both residential and industrial visit the Health & Safety Executive website.
How Does Asbestos Become Hazardous?
There is a strong likelihood that you live and work in a building that contains asbestos. However, the substance does not become harmful unless it is airborne.
When materials that contain asbestos are broken, asbestos fibres are released into the air. Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause chronic respiratory problems.
It should be noted that when asbestos is passive, there is little chance of it causing any damage. While the substance is contained in tiles, roofing and other materials that are typically used to build properties, the inhabitants are not at risk.
Asbestos only becomes hazardous when it is disturbed, either from drilling, breaking through building materials with a hammer or from natural decay. Avoid purchasing old buildings that have been abandoned and left to fall apart unless you remove any materials that potentially contain asbestos.
How To Identify Asbestos In The Home
Asbestos fibres are exceptionally thin – approximately 1000 times finer than head hair. It is not visible to the naked eye. The only way to identify whether you have asbestos in your home is to consult a licensed inspector to take samples for laboratory testing.
According to the UK government, because asbestos was commonly used to build homes, low levels can be traced in the air everywhere.
Although such low quantities are unlikely to cause health issues, knowing that your family is breathing in a potentially harmful substance can be emotionally distressing, especially for families with young children.
In homes, asbestos poses the most threat around anything that is subject to deterioration such as boilers, furnaces, pipes and ceilings with rotating fans. If ceilings are in poor condition and cracks start appearing, you should consider replacing them.
Old transit pipes which feed drinking water should also be examined. Asbestos was typically used for the cement around water pipes, and over time, pipes will deteriorate and pick up traces of asbestos which then contaminates your drinking water.
If you have identified areas in your home that could potentially expose you to harmful levels of asbestos, or you’re concerned asbestos could pose a threat, contact our fast resolution team and request removal or inspection.