Having asbestos in a home environment can be dangerous under certain conditions. However, there are a number of myths about asbestos at home – and given the risks to human health surrounding the material, it’s important to understand the truth from the fiction. Here we take a look at some of the myths about asbestos and the reality behind them.
Myth: Asbestos can’t be found in British homes anymore
Asbestos was completely banned from use in the UK in 1999. This has led to a misunderstanding, however, where people believe that also all existing asbestos was required to be removed, which is not the case. Asbestos was very widely used, especially through the 1970s and 1980s, and a huge number of properties still contain it in some form. So, don’t assume that your property can’t contain asbestos.
Myth: Having asbestos in your home means you can’t sell it
Homeowners who know that there is asbestos on their property are legally required to disclose this fact when selling – however, the asbestos being present doesn’t stop the sale from being possible. It should also be pointed out that homeowners aren’t required to disclose asbestos if they aren’t aware of it. In some cases, homebuyers will have an asbestos survey carried out which will uncover asbestos that the homeowner didn’t even know about.
Myth: Asbestos needs to be removed as soon as possible
It can be easy to assume that if you have asbestos on your property, the best course of action is to remove it as soon as possible. However, this is incorrect, and removing asbestos that it is in good condition will typically be more dangerous than leaving it where it is. When asbestos is in good condition it is not usually a risk to health – it is only when the material is disturbed and fibres become airborne that it can be dangerous.
Myth: It is easy to recognise asbestos
Some homeowners believe that it is not possible that they have asbestos in their home, because they know what it looks like and would be able to spot it. The truth is that while you might be able to recognise asbestos in its whole form, the material was often used as a constituent part of other building materials such as cement and sprayed coatings. To the naked eye it can be almost impossible to tell if materials contain asbestos or not, as some products such as Artex look identical whether or not they contain asbestos.