Asbestos is a naturally occurring substance that was used for many years in construction and interior design. But unfortunately, it was revealed that asbestos can also be a major health hazard for anyone who is exposed to the material when fibres have been allowed to get into the air – through damage or wear.
Asbestos was banned from use entirely in 1999, however, it had been used extensively in the 1970s and 1980s (as well as for far longer before). This means that while it is illegal to use asbestos, the material can still be found in many buildings across the UK – and this includes residential properties.
So, if you have asbestos (or believe you might have) how should you go about disposing of the material? Here we take a look at some of the key things to note about asbestos removal and disposal.
It might be better left alone
The first thing to mention is that it is usually better to leave asbestos alone, rather than attempting to remove it. This is because it is during the removal stage that asbestos can become damaged and this can allow fibres into the atmosphere, where they can be hazardous to human health.
If you believe you might have asbestos on your property, it is a great idea to first have the building surveyed. An asbestos survey can reveal where the material present is in poor condition and genuinely needs removal. But if you have made the decision that you need to remove the asbestos – for example, if it is in a location where it could be easily damaged or disturbed – it’s important to know how to do it safely.
Why you need to handle asbestos safely
It is when asbestos is disturbed or damaged that it is at its most dangerous. When asbestos fibres get into the air, they can then be breathed into the lungs, and it is here they actually cause many serious illnesses including cancers. Unfortunately, many of these diseases and illnesses do not show symptoms for more than 20 years after asbestos exposure.
Strict rules govern the professional removal of asbestos, as the material can pose such a potent threat if fibres are allowed to be released. Professionals must be highly trained and understand the dangers of the material.
Handling and disposing of asbestos
It is important to note that if you do not have sufficient training and experience, you should not attempt to remove asbestos yourself. It may be natural to want to get this potentially dangerous material out of your property as soon as possible – but rushing and doing things incorrectly is one of the worst things you can do.
You must get advice and guidance from asbestos professionals. They will be able to do the actual handling and removal of asbestos for you. Doing anything else can be very dangerous. If for any reason, you do need to urgently handle asbestos, or if you are considered that asbestos has been disturbed or damaged, it is recommended that you dampen the material with water – this can stop fibres from becoming airborne
At Crucial Environmental, we have extensive experience working with asbestos, carrying surveys, removals and much more. If you have any questions regarding asbestos, or if you need to have asbestos removed from your property, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly and knowledgeable team today.