Asbestos in the home: Tips to make sure you home is safe

Asbestos was only finally banned in 1999, meaning that this harmful material may be present in many residential properties. Asbestos only poses a serious danger if it released into the air, and the spores are breathed in. This could leave home-owners at risk of developing conditions like lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma. Asbestos may be present in many houses, unbeknownst to the owners and pose little or no risk. However, if carrying out building works or home improvements it can be easy to disturb the material.

It is important to be aware of where asbestos may be found in the home and what to do if you discover the material. If you have suffered a serious health condition which you believe to be a result of asbestos exposure in the home, there are steps you can take. Long-term illness can have a huge impact on family relationships and working life and as such, legal guidance and assistance is often sought. With help from a professional legal firm, it is possible to make an asbestosis compensation claim which may prove especially helpful if you have been left unable to work for long periods.

Asbestos has been used as a building material since the 1950s, is an effective insulator and has good levels of protection against fire. In some homes, asbestos may be present in more commonly-used areas, meaning the risk of exposure to the material is greater. Textured coating like artex is used on many walls and ceilings and can contain asbestos. However, as the fibres are not easily released this should only pose a real concern if you’re planning on re-decorating or doing building work. Asbestos can also be found in vinyl floor tiles, AIB window panels and pipe insulation. Your garage may also contain levels of asbestos, as the material can be used as a sprayed coating to protect surfaces against fire, such as a garage roof.

Long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, a condition caused almost solely by asbestos. This is a cancer which affects the linings of the lungs and lower digestive tract and unfortunately, is almost always fatal. Knowing what to do if asbestos is found then, is vital.

If you disturb asbestosis, contact a professional firm immediately who will handle and dispose of the material safely. The waste should only be handled at a licensed disposal site, so do not attempt to dispose or transport the material yourself! In the first instance, you should contact your local council who will be able to provide further details on a contractor. Asbestos can take many forms, so make sure you know how to identify it by looking at the photos provided on the government Health and Safety Executive website.

Be aware of the risks of asbestos and take action immediately, to avoid health problems and financial costs in the future.