Many homes and business premises across the UK contain asbestos. This material is known to be hazardous to human health, but it was still being used in many different forms of construction up until 1999 when it was completely banned. This means that many of us live and work in close proximity to asbestos every day.
But if asbestos is dangerous, surely we are putting ourselves at risk by being close to it all the time? In general, however, this is not that case and while asbestos can undoubtedly cause a large number of health problems, it typically won’t be doing any harm or damage if it is not disturbed.
Typically, asbestos is only a danger to human health when the dust or fibres are able to get into the air where they can be breathed into the lungs or enter the digestive tract. This commonly occurs when asbestos is disturbed during works at the property or when someone attempts to remove asbestos, believing it is safest to get rid of the material.
Asbestos may be discovered in multiple places throughout the home and workplace. It is most well known as a form of insulation but is also found in ceiling tiles, sprayed coatings and even certain types of mixed concrete. In all of these cases, it will generally not be a danger to you if it is in good condition and is not at risk of being disturbed.
The only time that asbestos is dangerous is when it is no longer in good condition – either when it has deteriorated to the point where it is crumbling, or if it is disturbed or broken to the point where fibres can escape.
This means that if you do find that you have asbestos on your property you need to ensure both that it is currently in good condition, and that you don’t try to remove it yourself. If you are worried about asbestos you should not try to do anything about it on your own – call in professionals to have an asbestos survey carried out first.