5 asbestos awareness questions and answers explained
Many people have heard of asbestos and maybe read about it a bit, and will know that it’s a harmful substance. While that’s true, there’s so much more to know about asbestos and being alert to the dangers it presents.
Is it true that some types of asbestos are safe?
No, it’s not true. There are six types of asbestos which when grouped together make up the ‘asbestos’ substance. These types are named:
- Chrysotile, or white asbestos
- Crocidolite, or blue asbestos
- Amosite, or brown asbestos
Each of these six individual types of asbestos has been banned as they share some common characteristics which make them harmful. White asbestos was banned in 1999, making it the final form of asbestos to be completely prohibited.
Is it true that modern properties cannot contain asbestos?
Yes. As long as your property was built after the year 2001, it cannot contain asbestos. This is because there was a complete ban on the importation of asbestos into the UK, meaning it would have been impossible for the substance to still be in use.
If your home was built before the year 2000, the professional advice is to assume it contains asbestos and seek professional consultation as soon as possible.
If I find asbestos, should I try and get it moved as soon as possible?
No. Sometimes, removing and disposing of asbestos might not be your best option. Of course, getting rid of such a dangerous substance seems like the natural thing to do so we understand that it may seem counter-intuitive to leave it alone.
However, asbestos is only harmful if it becomes airborne. Usually, this happens when the packing has become damaged or ripped, but if the asbestos is wrapped up adequately and undisturbed, it might be best to let it be.
You will need a qualified contractor to assess the situation before coming to this conclusion. Asbestos encapsulation is a way of ensuring that the asbestos remains in a safe and dormant state, and might be an easier or cheaper alternative to complete removal and disposal.
I heard that you can tell if asbestos has made you feel unwell, is this true?
No. Asbestos-related diseases usually take a long period of time to develop so you are unlikely to feel unwell directly after coming into contact with it or if you think you may have been exposed. Asbestos can cause any of the following diseases:
- Asbestosis – non-malignant scarring of the lung tissue
- Mesothelioma – cancer affecting the inner lining of the lungs
- Asbestos-related lung cancer
- Pleural thickening – thickening of the pleura which prevents your lungs from expanding to their usual capacity
It usually takes decades for these diseases to develop. People have been known to live for twenty to fifty years before the disease became apparent. For this reason, by the time people realise they are sick, it’s already too late.
‘Inhaling even one fibre of asbestos will cause disease’
No, this is not true. There is actually a very low background level of naturally occurring asbestos in the environment, but because of the short exposure time to this asbestos, the health risks associated with it are minimal.
Disease from asbestos is related directly to a person’s exposure; the higher the exposure, the higher the risk. This is why it’s so important to contact a professional as soon as possible if you have even the slightest inkling that there may be asbestos in your property.
So if you have asbestos in your property what do you need to do?
You have probably come across this page because you have asbestos in your home – whether you know this, or you think this, it needs to be addressed. Only ever use a professional to remove asbestos because it is dangerous and it needs to be dealth with carefully. To dispose of asbestos, you need a special licence and you need to take it to a location that will accept it, not just your local tip.
Give us a call
Colchester Asbestos Services is a qualified and professional asbestos removal and disposal firm. We offer a comprehensive service, safely removing asbestos from your property as quickly as possible.
If you think you may have asbestos, you should get it checked for your own peace of mind. Contact us for a free no-obligation quote.