Many people assume that there simply can’t be asbestos in their home. Firstly, they might reason that any asbestos would have been removed by now, as the material was banned from use in 1999. Secondly, they could believe that they would have been told about asbestos when they bought the property, either as a part of the survey, or because owners are legally bound to disclose the presence of known asbestos.
Unfortunately, none of these assumptions leave you fully protected. Asbestos was indeed banned from use, but any home that was built before 1999 could contain asbestos as a building material or in the use of insulation – there has never been any legal need for property owners to remove asbestos that is already in situ.
While owners are legally required to inform a buyer about any asbestos they know about – that doesn’t mean they know about all of the asbestos on their property! And unless you had a specific asbestos homebuyer survey, there’s no guarantee that asbestos would have been noticed during a survey of the property.
This ultimately means that it is very possible that you could have asbestos in the property you own without realising it is the case. That’s until you find a suspicious looking material and begin to get worried.
So, what should you do if you think you’ve found asbestos in your home?
- Don’t panic! – this one is important. Asbestos can be hazardous to human health, but finding it in your home doesn’t necessarily mean you have been exposed to it. Asbestos is only harmful when the material is damaged or disturbed and fibres are allowed to get into the air – here they can be breathed into the lungs. Don’t be tempted to remove it immediately yourself, as this could actually make the situation worse.
- Get specialist help – it is important to establish whether or not the material is asbestos. Many materials that look like asbestos are actually harmless. On the other hand, sometimes asbestos is effectively hidden within a building material, so it can be very hard to spot. The only way to know for certain is to have asbestos professionals carry out an asbestos survey of your property.
At Crucial Environmental, we have years of experience carrying out asbestos surveys in homes across the UK. Get in touch with us and we can help you with any asbestos-related issue that you are having.