Asbestos - Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if there's asbestos in my home / garden?
There's a possibility that any home that is over 15 years old may contain materials made from asbestos. Here are the common locations where you may find asbestos:
- Drain pipes (asbestos cement).
- Soffits, partitions or infill panels (asbestos cement or insulation board.)
- Shed or garage walls (asbestos cement).
- Shed or garage roofs (asbestos cement)
- Bath panel sides (asbestos cement)
If you rent your home, your landlord may have relevant information.
What should I do if I have any in my home?
Generally it's best to leave it alone, unless it's damaged or disturbed it's usually safe.
Never drill, sand or saw asbestos, and if painting use an alkali resistant paint such as PVA emulsion.
Always seek advice before thinking of removing any asbestos, and follow the basic rules when carrying out asbestos cement removal work.
DO NOT attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation board by yourself as these materials can only be removed by a licensed contractor.
How many types are there?
There are three main types which have been used commercially:
- Crocidolite - commonly known as blue asbestos
- Amosite - commonly known as brown asbestos
- Chrysotile - commonly know as white asbestos
Is it really dangerous?
Blue and brown asbestos are significantly more dangerous than white, although if left undisturbed they pose no health risk.
However, when asbestos materials are disturbed fibres are released which can become lodged in the lungs where they remain for years.
Repeated exposure can lead to asbestos-related disease.
How do I remove it if I need to?
Asbestos cement can be safely removed by adhering to these basic rules:
- Preparing the work area: remove any unnecessary items, cover the floor and surfaces with disposable polythene sheeting.
- Wear protective clothing: disposable overall with hood, disposable face mask (specifically for use with asbestos), rubber or disposable gloves
- Damp down the asbestos: use a paint sprayer or hose, but don't make the area too wet as cleaning up will be more difficult.
- Remove the asbestos without breaking it up, wrap it in polythene (sheeting or bags) and seal it with tape.
- Visually inspect the area and clear up any debris by hand.
- DO NOT use a vacuum cleaner as this just spreads the dust around.
- Wipe down with a damp cloth.
- Pick up all sheeting, remove protective clothing and treat both as asbestos waste.
- Thoroughly wash hands and face when the job is completed.
How should I dispose of it?
As a householder you can dispose of it at Malvern Household Waste & Recycling site at Newland, or at the Waste Site at Hallow.
Please take the following steps to ensure you don't contaminate your car:
- Double wrap or bag the asbestos with heavy duty polythene, and ensure that it is secured with tape.
Make sure any other occupants in the car do not have access to the asbestos waste.