You may not even know the building you have just purchased or have been living in for a while has asbestos. Asbestos is a known carcinogenic and hazardous to health and the environment. Having been banned in the UK since 1999, asbestos is frequently found in old homes and buildings and is often undiscovered until you start to refurbish or add on extensions. So it might be a good idea if you are in the position of having an old house or business property—built before the 1990s—to have the building surveyed for any signs of asbestos.
If you have had asbestos discovered, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed and rather worried. However, this problem only worsens if you ignore it, alongside all the harm it can do to people, pets and the environment. It is for these reasons that it is important you use a professional to remove any asbestos. They are the people who are trained to remove it competently and, more importantly, safely.
We include some advice below if you decide it’s only a small job and you can do it yourself. Our recommendation is to get in the people who know what they are doing! They can explain the options available to you, including the safe removal and disposal of the asbestos or encapsulating the material it is in. The last is often the better option if the asbestos is old and will probably break down if touched.
Firstly it is a good idea to update your knowledge of asbestos, know why it is so dangerous and know the signs and symptoms of asbestos poisoning. The danger with asbestos is that there are no safe levels of exposure. So while a short exposure is not known to cause problems, being safe is the better option, so get it removed asap. The big problems start when you break asbestos. This is because you can breathe in the particles of asbestos fibres in the dust. These small fibres then stick in the lungs, causing health problems and cancer.
Wear gloves, a dust mask and goggles. This should be the appropriate standard for the job you are doing.
Try not to break the asbestos up. It is the small particles and the dust from it causing the problems. If you accidentally break it, reduce the dust particles by spraying water on it. Place the asbestos you remove in heavy-duty plastic bags. Refrain from over-filling so that you can close the bags quickly. Before removing it, check how you can dispose of the asbestos in your area.
Not all local tips will allow asbestos to be placed in their tips. Before heading off with your safely closed asbestos bags, contact your local authority. Some councils allow specific amounts, but you can check the government website to confirm what you can and cannot do. Some councils offer an asbestos collection service. This is a chargeable service; collection can take time, and there may be a limit to the amount they can take.
There are also private asbestos collection firms which might be a speedier service and removal, but this comes at a cost. Before agreeing to any contract, ensure that the firm you are using will issue a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note. This written document details what is being removed, the address, date and parties involved in the transfer.
Published Dec 08, 2022