Asbestos is a natural mineral that is strong and resistant to heat and chemicals.
In the past most asbestos was made into building materials and was used in building work for many years.
Properties built since the mid-1980s are very unlikely to contain asbestos.
Asbestos materials are present in many buildings across the country and are perfectly safe if they are not damaged.
When asbestos materials age or become damaged, fibres are released into the air and very high levels of these fibres can cause harm.
Where you might find asbestos
Asbestos can be found in some, but not all, of these materials in homes built from 1930 to around 1980.
- Decorative textured coatings and paints applied to walls and ceilings (Artex)
- Floor tiles
- Toilet cisterns
- Heating and ventilation flues and parts of heaters
- Bath panels
- Old electric fuse boxes
- Access panels to service ducts
- Screen panels under windows, fascia boards, soffits, roof tiles, rainwater gutters and pipes.
Building materials which contain asbestos and are in good condition will not be a risk to anyone living in the property.
They are generally best left undisturbed rather than being removed - because removal can lead to high levels of fibres in the air for some time.
Asbestos materials which have been painted, covered by other materials, or enclosed in ducts or in cupboards also pose no risk if they are not damaged.
If asbestos material is slightly damaged it can be repaired by sealing the material. Asbestos materials that are badly damaged or deteriorating can release fibres and should be examined by professionals to decide if they need to be removed.
Things you can do to help
If you suspect there is damaged asbestos material in your home please contact the Housing Repairs Service.
We may arrange for a sample of suspected material to be taken for analysis and will give you advice on what action, if any, you need take.
If you are planning DIY or maintenance work which could involve disturbing materials that may contain asbestos, please contact your housing office.
You should not drill, cut, or disturb any material you suspect may contain asbestos.
You should not scrape or sand any material you suspect contains asbestos.
Last updated: Mon 10 November, 2014 @ 17:20