Asbestos has not been used in domestic buildings in the UK since the 1990's as it was made illegal, however if your house was built before the year 2000, there is a chance that asbestos exists in it somewhere.
Asbestos was used as it is heat resistant and fireproof, which means it was added to lots of building materials to improve their resistance to fire!
Identifying asbestos is not easy and the only real way to tell is to have it tested by a laboratory that specialises in asbestos identification, there are about 6 different types of asbestos and some are more harmful than others. chrysotile asbestos is one of the most popular types of asbestos used in the world. Asbestos was mined in several countries, if you ever go to Cyprus they have several open cast disused Asbestos mines.
In many industrial buildings there will be an asbestos register where all asbestos will be registered. Warning stickers like the one to the left are common place in some factories.
Asbestos could be contained in any of the following building materials-
- Asbestos roofing sheets.
- Asbestos wall and ceiling panels.
- Asbestos fire blankets.
- Some acoustic ceiling tiles and sound proofing wall panels.
- Some soffit panels (which are often painted).
- Some felt roof lining materials.
- Some pipe insulation materials (this is very common in factories that use steam as it was common practice to insulate the pipes using asbestos).
- Some insulation materials used in ceilings.
- Some hessian covered cork notice boards.
- Some vinyl floor tiles.
- Some artex type wall and ceiling coverings.
- Some bricks used in night storage heaters.
- Some bricks and products used in fireplaces.
Some textured coatings can contain asbestos. Under no circumstances should you sand textured coatings. If you are not sure if the coating contains asbestos then you must assume that it does and treat it with caution.
Identifying asbestos is not always easy and it is best to assume that it is asbestos, if you are in doubt!
Special kits can be purchased which can tell you if it is asbestos. Removal is best left to professional firms although there is no law to stop you doing it yourself.
With such a product it is better to leave it to the professionals! Asbestos-related disease is generally associated with long term exposure to asbestos in an occupational setting. Asbestos exposure has been linked to a range of diseases including Asbestosis, lung cancer and Mesothelioma
Here you can see asbestos roofing sheets being removed by a firm of professionals. It is possible to remove asbestos your self but often it is much safer to get a professional firm in!