Since the dangers of asbestos exposure were publicly revealed, it's become a homeowner's nightmare. The thought of discovering this hazardous substance in your property is accompanied by thoughts of risk to your family's health and expensive, disruptive work to remove it safely. Despite how widely the dangers are known, however, few people really know what they should do in the event they discover asbestos.
Inhaling asbestos fibres is linked to a number of different respiratory problems, most worryingly mesothelioma — a type of cancer. Understanding how to react to an asbestos discovery could mean the difference between danger and safety. Here's what to do when you're certain there's asbestos in your home.
Find out how widespread it is
If you find asbestos in one place, there's a good chance it's elsewhere, too. Try and determine how widespread it is in your home, but don't be tempted to disturb building materials to work it out.
All you need to do is have a look around for similar materials to the one you've determined contains asbestos or other areas where it's likely.
Determine the immediate risk
Two important categories of asbestos are friable and non-friable. Friable asbestos is that which is easy to crumble or damage, or which is in the process of decaying. This can happen due to weather conditions if it's outside, or ordinary wear and tear. When friable asbestos is present, the situation is more urgent, and you should consider evacuating the building.
Non-friable asbestos becomes friable when demolition or renovation work is carried out. If you discovered the likely presence of asbestos when working on walls, ceilings or floors, this is also an emergency situation, as the fibres are probably airborne.
With non-friable asbestos that hasn't been disturbed, there's probably no immediate danger. It's best to keep people away from the area if possible, but there's no reason to panic.
Determine what your immediate response should be, based on the likely danger. Contact an expert if you're not sure.
Leave it alone
Whatever you do, never attempt asbestos removal on your own. If you think there's an urgent risk, the best course of action is to keep the area clear rather than tackling it yourself.
Contact a professional
Get in touch with a trained, professional asbestos contractor right away and explain as much as you can about the situation. They will give you instructions if there's anything you need to do and will deal with the asbestos appropriately on your behalf. This ensures maximum safety and avoids putting your family or yourself at unnecessary risk.Share
28 March 2018
Hello, my name is Colin and this is my construction blog. When people think of the construction industry, they often just imagine guys in hard hats building brick walls. While this is a popular image of the industry, it doesn't reflect the true diversity of different contractors and tradesmen who are involved in a construction project. Lasy year, my wife and I decided to construct our dream home. I had to arrange visits of plumbers, roofers, electricians, surveyors and home builders in order to get the job done. I learnt a lot during that experience, so I decided to start this blog.