The Department of Health statistics for deaths from lung cancer in the UK are 7.2% in men, and 3.7% in women. The extra risk from non-occupational exposure to asbestos is minuscule.
Asbestos fibres are present everywhere in the air at very low levels.
This means that everyone is breathing in a very low level of fibres all the time. The small burden of fibres resulting from this background exposure appears to be well tolerated, so the theory that one asbestos fibre kills is unfounded.
There is no convincing evidence that the ingestion of asbestos fibres is associated with any risk to health.
Asbestos is a mineral substance that can split into many tiny fibres.
When present in the air, these fibres can be inhaled into the lungs where they may lodge. If sufficient fibres are inhaled they can lead to diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and another type of cancer called mesothelioma. Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos) pose a greater risk than chrysotile (white asbestos), which is the most common type of asbestos found in buildings. The exposures encountered by members of the general public outdoors or in their homes are very low and unlikely to present any risk. Nevertheless, it is wise to take precautions if you are handling any substance you suspect may contain asbestos.
This is a job for an expert - the material will need to be analysed by a specialist firm. As a rule, chrysotile was used for most applications where some consumer contact was expected, with amphiboles reserved for industrial applications, but some amphibole (especially amosite) was used in buildings, particularly those constructed in the 1950's.
Non necessarily. In some cases (for example, asbestos cement) the product containing fibres may deteriorate with age, making fibre release more probable. Asbestos fibres are very durable and their condition will not normally change over time. There is no evidence that the overall risk associated with these fibres will increase but exposure potential may be higher with materials in poor condition due to age.
It is recommended that, if it is undamaged and unlikely to be disturbed, material containing asbestos should be left in place, if necessary sealing it with paint or plastic film.
As this is outdoors, there is unlikely to be any risk of serious exposure to asbestos fibres. However, asbestos cement sheets can be fragile so take care to avoid falling through the roof. If you do decide to dismantle your garage roof, the work should be carried out in accordance with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance in Working with asbestos cement. If possible, spray the sheets with water to reduce dust emissions. Try to remove them whole and take care to avoid breakage or sliding dry sheets over one another, as this will release asbestos fibres into the air. Avoid the use of power tools. A disposable dust mask that is 'CE' marked to EN 149 with FFP2 particulate filters will provide an additional level of protection. After removal, the asbestos should be bagged or wrapped in polythene sheets, sealed, labelled 'Asbestos' and taken to a disposal site licensed to take asbestos wastes. Whole sheets of asbestos cement do not need to be sealed but should be wrapped in polythene sheets.
Almost certainly not. Vehicle brake shoes/pads used to contain chrysotile asbestos, though modern replacements do not. The dust which accumulated as a result of wear could therefore contain some asbestos fibres, although the heat generated when the brakes are used is so great it would destroy much of the fibre present. Occasional exposures to the residues are extremely unlikely to result in asbestos-related diseases. Some professional mechanics have contracted such diseases but their exposure was much more intense than that of an experienced amateur and some of these mechanics were additionally exposed by shaping and fitting new linings to old shoes, an operation not performed by the amateur.
If possible, you should paint, cover or plaster over the decorative coating rather than remove it. There are products on the market for covering textured surfaces. Alternatively, if the coating is applied to a plasterboard surface, the whole board may be removed in pieces large enough for convenient handling and disposal. If you do wish to remove the surface finish only, reduce as much as possible the chance of you generating and inhaling any dust by soaking the surface with warm water and scraping off wet. Do not sand the decorative coating or scrape off dry. For best protection while doing any minor DIY work you should wear a disposable dust mask, 'CE' marked to EN 149 with FFP2 particulate filters.
Avoid working directly overhead. The existing paintwork may be removed by carefully applying a proprietary paint remover to the surface or by spraying with water and gently scraping off loose material. A sealant and finishing coat should then be applied. If sanding is absolutely unavoidable then a coarse wet and dry paper USED WET will restore a finish. You should wear a dust mask (as above) while doing this work. The area should be well cleaned with a damp cloth when the job is complete and the cleaning materials sealed in a plastic bag for disposal.
Do not clean the roof unless really necessary as asbestos fibres may be released during the process. If cleaning is necessary apply a moss killer (e.g. Jeyes' fluid), using a brush or spray, then remove the dead moss with a stiff broom a day or more after treatment. Do not sand or scrape the cement. The use of crawling boards should be employed when working on asbestos cement roofs, as there is a risk of the boards breaking under pressure and the worker falling through. HSE guidance Working with asbestos cement gives further directions.
First ensure that the paper really does contain obvious fibrous material and check its condition. If the paper is intact it is unlikely to release much fibre and the lino can be removed first and the paper dampened with warm water and gently scraped or peeled off. The waste should be collected in a strong plastic bag, and sealed before disposal. If the paper (which is often bituminous) has deteriorated badly, with visible fibre on the surface, the operation is more difficult to conduct without generating dust. Clear the area as far as possible and seal off the room by closing all doors connecting with other rooms or use plastic sheeting to cover apertures without doors. Remove the lino and dispose of it by wrapping in plastic and sealing with tape. As sections of the lino are removed, damp the paper with water spray and collect into a strong plastic bag which should be sealed for disposal. You should wear a dust mask which conforms to EN 149 with FFP2 particulate filters during the process and outer clothing should be laundered separately from other clothing on completion.
The procedure is basically the same as that for asbestos cement roofing. Sections of guttering should be removed in one piece wherever possible and any dusty material should be damped down with water.
Asbestos materials are treated as special waste, and so cannot be disposed of in the same way as normal household waste. Place the material in strong plastic bags (asbestos should be double-bagged) and label clearly.
You can seek to dispose of the waste materials yourself, or employ a licensed contractor to do this for you. There are privately operated sites in Essex which are licensed to accept bonded asbestos. The only one in the Thurrock area is Lenval in Stanford le Hope (Tel: 01375 640344). It is important to remember that such sites are not legally obliged to take your waste. Contact the operator in advance to confirm collection and/or disposal arrangements, including costs for performing this service.
Even if fibres are being released into the water, there is no evidence that exposure to asbestos in drinking water has any adverse effect on health at all. The outer surface of the tank is usually in a relatively inaccessible place and so should remain in good condition. If access around the tank is needed at frequent intervals then sealing the surface with a decorative or other finish may be a sensible precaution.
There is no evidence of a risk to health due to exposure to asbestos released during fires. This is mainly from asbestos cement roofing materials and most of the fibres remain sealed within the fragments. However, it is best to minimise exposure to asbestos wherever possible, and so if it is suspected that asbestos may be released during a fire, local residents should stay indoors and should not pick up or otherwise disturb any debris from the fire.
There is no reason to suppose that the environmental levels of asbestos in the vicinity of contaminated land will be significantly elevated.
White (chrysotile) asbestos is the only type of asbestos which may still be marketed in the UK. It is most commonly found in asbestos cement products such as roofing tiles and profiled sheets. A ban on all the remaining uses of asbestos is currently being considered by the Government.
This can be extremely difficult and buyers will almost certainly need professional advice. A full investigation will normally involve opening up parts of the building and most sellers will not permit this. Therefore, surveyors can only make visual inspections of those parts of the property which are reasonably accessible. In some cases this may allow them to warn of the possible presence of asbestos, e.g. the age or construction of the property may indicate the possible presence of asbestos.
Buyers who are concerned should not rely on a mortgage valuation, as this is unlikely to reveal the presence of asbestos. Even the more detailed Homebuyers Report is not aimed at identifying contamination by harmful substances although the surveyor would be expected to provide a warning if he sees that they are present. A full Building Survey should reveal the presence of asbestos (unless it can only be detected by an intrusive survey) but buyers who want specific advice on this should obtain written confirmation that the surveyor they propose to instruct has the necessary training and experience to identify asbestos if it is present.
A seller is not under any obligation to reveal the presence of asbestos although if he provided false or misleading information in response to an express enquiry he may be liable if loss results. Sellers may, however, be unaware themselves of the presence of asbestos.
The management of asbestos in any building is the responsibility of the building owner, in this case the Council. Contact the relevant Housing Department Area Office.
There is no formal requirement on landlords to inform tenants of the presence of asbestos or do anything about it unless it is such that they should reasonably have been aware of it and it is a real threat to the tenants' personal safety. The Defective Premises Act 1972 puts a duty of care on the landlord to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to see that tenants and other people are reasonably safe from personal injury or disease caused by a defect in the property. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 implies into all tenancies a condition that the rented property is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and an undertaking that the landlord will maintain that standard throughout the tenancy. A property shall only be regarded as unfit for human habitation if it is so defective that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation.
Grants are not generally available for the removal of asbestos. Housing Health and Safety Loans are available for private owner occupiers, who can evidence there are serious housing hazards existing at their property. For further information, please visit www.thurrock.gov.uk/housing/private/ or e-mail email@example.com