Introduction Asbestos was a very popular building material for many years. It does not catch fire easily, is resistant to chemicals, is durable, it blocks noise and is a good insulator. Although the most dangerous forms of asbestos have been banned since 1982, using asbestos in construction was not completely banned in the United Kingdom until 1999, which means that your home is likely to have some asbestos in it. This leaflet explains: • • • •
What asbestos is Where you might find it Why it may be a problem; and How to deal with it
If there is asbestos in your home, this does not automatically mean there is a problem. In fact, materials containing asbestos are very good at what they do. Asbestos fibres can only affect your health if they become damaged, either accidentally, or while they are being worked on during building work or DIY. If this happens, the asbestos could release fibres and these could harm your health if you breathe in a significant quantity.
What Is Asbestos? Asbestos is a natural mineral, found in rock. As it is naturally occurring asbestos fibres are in the air all the time, we are all therefore breathing in about 200,000 – 300,000 fibres every day without harming our health. Asbestos is made up of similar chemicals to talcum powder (they are silicates). The rock is crushed and processed to allow the asbestos to be taken out. The three main types of asbestos that were used are: • Crocidolite (blue asbestos), this is the most harmful type of asbestos • Amosite (brown asbestos), this is less harmful than blue asbestos but more harmful than white asbestos; and • Chrysotile (white asbestos), this is the least harmful type of asbestos.
Blue asbestos is rarely found within Homes in Sedgemoor managed properties. There are small amounts of brown asbestos. The most common is white asbestos, which is also the softest and the least harmful. Materials containing asbestos cannot be identified simply by looking at them. To find out whether a material contains asbestos, you need to have a sample taken of the material and have it analysed by an accredited laboratory. Also, how dangerous the asbestos is depends on the type of asbestos and where it is in your home. We conduct asbestos surveys of tenants’ homes to make sure we know the type of any asbestos, where it is and whether it is in a safe condition. We will share with you any information we have about asbestos in your home.
Is there asbestos in my home? Asbestos can be found in most homes built before the late 1990’s. There may be asbestos in the following areas of your home:
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Boilers flues Fascia boards Pipe joints Garage roofs Fire breaks Pipework Gas appliances Fire doors Textured coatings, like Artex Pipe boxing Insulation Water heaters Soffits Partition walls Bath panels Water tanks Storage heaters Ceiling tiles Floor tiles Door and boiler cupboard linings Gutters and rainwater pipes
Any new material we or our contractors fit to your home will be free from asbestos.
Soil and vent pipes can be made of asbestos
Soffits, fascias and rainwater goods may be made of asbestos cement
Roof tiles and especially cement roofing sheets on sheds may be asbestos cement. Roofing felt may also contain asbestos
Window boxes were often made of asbestos cement
Window sills may be asbestos, also cavities around window and door openings may be closed with asbestos
Porch soffits sometimes had asbestos
damp proof courses often contain asbestos
Ceilings may be of asbestos cement panels or Asbestos Insulation Board
Textured coatings may contain asbestos Studwork Partition Panels may be asbestos cement or AIB boards
Kitchen and airing cupboard doors may be lined with asbestos
Window sills and boards may be asbestos. Cavities may be closed with asbestos
PVC floor tiles and/or their adhesive may contain asbestos
Will asbestos affect my health? Asbestos is not a danger to your health if it is in good condition and is not disturbed, however you can disturb asbestos by drilling it, or sawing it, or rubbing it down. If you breathe in asbestos dust, tiny fibres can reach your lungs. This can cause diseases like asbestosis or cancer; however you must have breathed in a large number of fibres for this to happen. These diseases do not develop overnight and it may take many years after breathing in asbestos before any ill effects are evident. How much the fibres affect your health also depends on the type of asbestos breathed in. Even if you do breath in asbestos fibres they may have no effect on you at all.
How can I reduce the risk? • Don’t repair or remove any material that you think may contain asbestos. • Don’t cut, break, saw, drill, sand or disturb anything you think may contain asbestos. • If you don’t know what a material is made from, assume that it contains asbestos. • If you don’t know whether something contains asbestos, phone us on 0800 585 360 or 01278 55 24 00 and we will be able to check our asbestos register. We have a management plan to make sure we take appropriate action to identify and deal with materials containing asbestos in your home; we will not knowingly put your health and safety in danger by allowing you to come into contact with asbestos fibres that are not controlled.
Will you remove asbestos from my home? Asbestos was used so widely in the building trade for such a long time that removing asbestos from all homes is not practical, and in many instances attempting to remove the asbestos will release more fibres into the air than if left alone. Our policy is to do a risk assessment for every case.
A trained surveyor will decide whether to: • Leave the asbestos in place and make a record of where it is (if it is in good condition): • Seal the asbestos to stop it breaking down (this is called encapsulation): • Cover the asbestos with timber, PVC or other materials; or remove it and replace it with material that doesn’t contain asbestos.
What if I am a leaseholder? If you are a leaseholder, we are not responsible for asbestos in your home. However, if you contact us we can give you a list of contractors licensed to deal with asbestos, or undertake surveys. If we own the freehold of the building in which your home is located, we will be responsible for the asbestos in any shared areas (stairwells, landings etc).
Who can remove asbestos? We only use approved contractors licensed by the Health and Safety Executive to remove or work upon harmful types of asbestos. If you have any concerns about asbestos please phone us on 0800 585 360 or 01278 55 24 00 Please be assured that the presence of asbestos containing materials in your home should not in itself be a cause for concern. It is the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) advice that such materials in good condition should be left in place undisturbed and their condition periodically monitored. You may like to think of it in the same way as live electricity – a constant presence and quite safe until tampered with.
Asbestos – This document is also available in other languages, large print, Braille, and audio format. If you would like help reading this document or any part of it translating please contact Homes in Sedgemoor on 0800 585 360. 石棉: – Homes in Sedgemoor
0800 585 360
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Bridgwater House, King Square, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 3AR Phone: 0800 585 360 or 01278 552400 Email: [email protected]
Asbestos Sep 12
Homes in Sedgemoor