Asbestos is still present in houses
If you live in a house built before 2000, you could be sharing a home with the deadly substance.
Asbestos still kills around 5,000 people a year – more than the number of people killed on the roads. But even though its toxicity was recognised by doctors as far back as 1899, it can be present in buildings built or refurbished before 2000, according to the Government’s Health & Safety Executive.
Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause serious diseases including mesothelioma, a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract; lung cancer; and asbestosis: a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. The condition can cause progressive shortness of breath and in severe cases can be fatal.
Where is asbestos in the home?
You may find loose-fill asbestos in lofts, cavity walls and under floorboards. It’s a loose, fluffy insulation material which looks like candy floss. It can be blue-grey or whitish in colour and is probably the most dangerous asbestos-containing material. If disturbed, it can release many asbestos fibres into the air.
Lagging and insulation around piping and boilers can also contain a type of asbestos which is fibrous, flakes and powders easily and is often painted in different colours, making it more difficult to detect.
Asbestos can also be found in spray coatings on the undersides of roofs and floors, originally used for fire protection. It’s dangerous because even minor disturbance can release large amounts of asbestos fibres, which can be breathed in.
It is also often present in insulation boards, and you can find asbestos tiles hidden under carpet and in old textured wall and ceiling coatings.
Discover if your property contains health risks by opting for a asbestos survey.