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Why worry about asbestos in the home?

If your property is more than 15 years old, it is possible that it contains materials made from asbestos.


Common locations are listed below but there may be others in your home, so if in doubt leave well alone and seek expert help. A number of licensed asbestos contractors can be found in the phone book.


This advice is aimed at householders. The HSE have produced a number of leaflets which are more appropriate for businesses.


Common locations of asbestos:

  • Asbestos cement on garage or shed roofs
  • Asbestos cement on shed and garage wall panels
  • Asbestos cement on drain pipes
  • Asbestos cement on insulation board soffit, infill panels and partitions
  • Asbestos cement on the side of bath panels


If your home is rented, your landlord may have relevant information


What to do if you have asbestos in your home

The general rule is to always leave asbestos alone, it's usually safe unless it's damaged or disturbed.

  • Paint indoor materials with an alkali resistant paint such as PVA emulsion, and never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials
  • Always seek advice before thinking of removing asbestos and follow the basic rules below if carrying out asbestos cement removal work. Do not attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation board by yourself as these materials can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor
  • Sometimes it may be necessary for a licensed asbestos contractor to take a sample, for example to identify the type of asbestos


Safe asbestos cement removal

Asbestos cement can be safely removed by remembering these basic rules:

  • Prepare the work area - remove any unnecessary items, cover the floor and surfaces with disposable polythene sheeting
  • Wear protective clothing - disposable overall with hood, disposable paper face mask (for use with asbestos) and rubber or disposable gloves
  • Damp down - use a plant sprayer or hosepipe but do not soak the area as this will make cleaning up more difficult
  • Remove the asbestos without breaking it up, wrap in polythene sheeting or bags and seal with tape
  • Visually inspect the area and clear up any debris by hand - wipe down with disposable damp cloths
  • Never use a vacuum cleaner as this will just spread dust around
  • Pick up polythene sheeting and remove protective clothing and dispose of both as asbestos waste
  • Wash hands and face after the job is completed


Disposal of asbestos waste

Waste Aware (part of Hertfordshire County Council) will collect “very small amounts”. Contact them on 0300 123 4051 or find further details on the Waste Aware website.


Alternatively use a licensed contractors to dispose of your asbestos waste, telephone numbers are available in the Yellow pages. If you do, be sure to check that they are licensed to carry out this work.


The Environment Agency hold a list of approved contractors and can be contacted on 08708 506 506


Asbestos advice

  • Don't panic if you think you have asbestos in your home - it's usually only a problem if it's disturbed
  • Do treat asbestos with respect
  • Don't drill, saw or disturb materials that contain asbestos
  • Do seek advice if you think you've got a problem with asbestos in your home or at work
  • For further information on Asbestos telephone the HSE on 01787 881165.