The use of Asbestos in the construction industry was banned in 1999 but the United Kingdom is still left with a legacy of Asbestos riddled buildings in every corner of the country.
Some eye opening facts:
The Most Common Places to Find Asbestos Products in Your HomeSoffit Boards
- 1.5 million commercial buildings that still contain Asbestos in the UK.
- At least 75% of schools and universities contain Asbestos.
- 50% of homes constructed before 1998 contained Asbestos at some point.
- The latency period, the time before you notice any symptoms, is between 10 and 40 years.
- Each year 2500 people die from Asbestos related diseases.
- Only 50% of those diagnosed with Mesothelioma will live more than one year.
These are part of the roofline and are located underneath the fascia boards. They were very popular as they never rot, can be painted and were cheaper than timber. The biggest risk is ignorance, many homeowners do not know that this material is Asbestos and they sand the boards prior to painting. This releases the harmful fibres.Corrugated Roof Sheets
These sheets are often seen on agricultural buildings, shed and garages. They were also used during the construction of low-cost social housing. The biggest risk to you is drilling, cutting or the gradual release of the fibres which will collect in the shed or garage that this material covers.Heat Proof Shields
Asbestos has superb heat proof properties and was once used on brake pads for trains and even cars. The most common place to find Asbestos heat shields are behind or above cookers, radiators, fuse boxes and on chimney breasts.Artex Ceilings
These textured ceilings were once very popular and Asbestos was used as the fibres make the paint easier to work with. It was also thought that the Asbestos would act as a fireproofer on the ceiling and was even promoted as a life saver in the past.Car Port Ceiling Panels
Car ports located under homes pose a fire risk to the occupants; if oil or fuel leaks from the vehicle, it could catch fire and spread to the home above. Asbestos cement boards were often used as a fireproofing material and were once touted as a life saver. Car ports still pose a risk but nowadays, other fireproofing materials are used. Chimney Flues
Chimneys and flue outlets create a lot of heat and as Asbestos has such great fireproofing properties, it was also used on chimneys and flues.Should Asbestos be Removed or Sealed?
There are three ways to deal with Asbestos in and around the home:
- Leave it alone. In most cases, leaving the Asbestos alone is a viable option, if it's undisturbed, fibres won't be released and there's no risk to anyone in the home.
- Sealing with glues and paints is a viable option as this ensures no fibres will leach from the material. This option is a popular option for those that have Asbestos garage roof sheets and they don't want to remove it.
- Remove it. Asbestos regulations have been tightened and although some types of Asbestos is certain locations (outdoors) can be removed by unlicensed persons, everyone who works with this material must undergo specific training and keep records of all exposure. Employers must also ensure their employees have periodic lung scans.
The best option for you will depend on the circumstances. Do remember that while the removal of Asbestos is the most expensive option, it deals with the problem permanently.
Sealing and encapsulation is a viable option but if the material is disturbed, perhaps by drilling, sanding or a collapse of a wall of ceiling, the fibres would be released.
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