Asbestos: Hiding in your home (Part One)

Your home is your safe place, your sense of security and the place you can rest at ease. However, there are a number of potentially dangerous materials and substances that could be in your homes that you may not be aware of. Asbestos is one of the more dangerous items that you may have hiding in your home in various forms, especially if it was built or refurbished before the year 2000.

Asbestos is always dangerous, but it’s more dangerous when the fibres become airborne. Don’t panic and tear your house apart. Instead, if concerned, or in need of help, contact a UKAS accredited asbestos consultancy. It’s important to highlight and clarify that undisturbed asbestos is never truly ‘safe’ in any form, despite what some people may claim; but if left undisturbed, it is safer than airborne asbestos fibres. When airborne, the fibres can be inhaled and also contaminate other areas by clinging to clothing and shoes –becoming transferable.

Mesothelioma, as well as other asbestos-related diseases, are caused due to exposure to the deadly material, and symptoms typically only show about 15-30 years after initial exposure (known as the latency period). The risk increases with increased exposure, but it does not mean that short term exposure is safe.

There are at least 20 common places where asbestos might still be lurking inside and outside your home that you should be alert to, so please take care when you’re working in these areas. If you have any doubts about a product that you believe may contain asbestos, the best thing to do is have a UKAS accredited asbestos consultancy safely take a sample and test it. It may also be advisable to test the air in the room and surrounding areas if work has recently/already been carried out there. That’s the only way to truly be certain itsis safe and have peace of mind.

To help you become alert and better prepared to potential dangers, we will start by identifying the first three locations where asbestos may be hiding inside your home, in this article. Stay tuned for Part Two: Asbestos Hiding inside your Home, and Part Three: Asbestos Hiding outside your Home.

Inside your home:

Asbestos Cement Water Tanks

Asbestos’ thermal resistance and strength are the main reasons why it was used in the making of cement water tanks. Being tasteless, odourless and microscopic, you won’t know if there are fibres in your water from these tanks. If these tanks are being used for drinking, washing dishes and laundry, or taking showers, there is a risk of exposure to the deadly fibres.

Pipe Lagging

Another place you’d likely find asbestos is in pipe lagging. For those of you who don’t know what this is; it’s the insulation fitted around pipes to stop them from bursting by keeping the heat in the pipes, especially when it’s cold. To some degree, it also prevents you from getting burned if you touch them. Asbestos is heat resistant and because of this quality, it was widely used in pipe lagging. In some older builds, you may find damaged or disintegrating pipe lagging. It’s advised to leave it as undisturbed as possible and call in an accredited asbestos consultancy to test the product for asbestos, and recommend a management or removal plan.

Loose Fill Insulation

Loose fill insulation is used both commercially and domestically, and can be found in loft spaces, in between cavity walls, under floorboards and irregularly shaped places. Asbestos loose fill insulation is possibly the most dangerous asbestos-containing material (ACM) as it’s pure asbestos and if disturbed, it can release large amounts of fibres into the air, where it can be inhaled and also can adhere to clothing and shoes, contaminating other areas. Only professionals should be called to assess and remove this type of asbestos due to its fibrous nature.

 

If you believe your commercial or private property may have asbestos, you have a responsibility to manage it. ESSS, a UKAS and ISO accredited asbestos consultancy, is equipped to determine the extent of your asbestos situation and develop a plan for the management and/or removal of it. Contact us today at 01268 755 464 or by visiting http://www.esss.co.uk/.
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