Asbestos was a popular, widely-used building material between the 1950s and the mid-1980s. As such, if your home was constructed during this period, there is a chance that you may have asbestos in your house.
Due to the potential health risks involved in the use of asbestos, it is no longer used as a building material today, but there are obviously many buildings that still contain this material.
Dangers of asbestos in your house
The health risks of having asbestos in your house are minimal as long as the asbestos remains undisturbed. Abrasions or damage to this material could, however, result in asbestos fibres becoming airborne, which, if breathed in, could lead to an array of asbestos-related diseases, including pleural thickening, asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
Checking for asbestos in your house
If you intend to carry out work on your home and suspect that you may have asbestos in your house, it is therefore necessary to check for asbestos before carrying out any work that may damage asbestos-containing areas and subsequently your health.
Unfortunately, determining whether a product contains asbestos is not possible by simply looking at it, but requires taking a sample and having it analysed by an accredited (UKAS) laboratory.
The risk of fibres being released during the process of taking a sample is high, so having a competent, qualified professional do this rather than attempting it yourself is highly recommended.
If you do decide to take a sample yourself, prevent exposure to asbestos by:
- Dampening the area to be tested thoroughly with water and washing-up liquid
- Ensuring you do not generate dust or allow the material to spread when taking the sample
- Cleaning the area with a damp rag afterwards; the rag should then be included with the sample
- Using paint or another sealant to seal the broken edge
Contact your selected laboratory to arrange a delivery. There is usually a charge for this. Details for accredited laboratories can be found on the UKAS Website.
Asbestos at work
Employers are bound by law to prevent accidents at work and industrial diseases. This includes taking all necessary precautions to prevent work accidents causing exposure to asbestos, as well as ensuring workers are not exposed to asbestos for long periods of time.
If you developed an asbestos-related condition because these precautions were not in place, you could be entitled to industrial injury compensation.
Accident Advice Helpline
Our in-house work injury solicitors have more than 15 years’ experience in handling asbestos-related claims. Enlist our help and get the compensation due to you by calling us on 0333 500 0993 from your mobile, or 0800 689 0500 from a landline, now.
Date Published: August 1, 2016
Author: Accident Advice