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Understanding asbestos - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Part 1

| by Clinton Moore

Even though asbestos is no longer used in the construction of residential homes and commercial properties, it can still cause several problems if damaged or disturbed in any way. What’s more, individuals that have come into contact with asbestos in the past may yet suffer from certain illnesses and diseases, as it can take many years for problems to become apparent. However, companies like Sperion are on hand to provide asbestos disposal services. On top of that, we can conduct a free survey and provide no obligation advice about the options available to you. Seeing as we receive a number of queries on a daily basis about asbestos, here are some frequently asked questions answered.

What are the health risks from asbestos?

Responsible for over 5000 deaths every year, asbestos can cause a number of health problems. But the main risks are:

  • Mesothelioma - A rare form of lung cancer, which is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos.
  • Asbestosis - A scarring of the lungs, which is not always fatal but extremely debilitating.
  • Lung cancer - Usually apparent with individuals who smoke cigarettes as well.

How do I know if asbestos is present in my home or workplace?

Owing to the fact that asbestos used to be mixed together with other materials, it can be difficult to identify. However, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) have an online image gallery that shows a number of items containing asbestos. If you’re unsure, it is best to contact a qualified professional such as Sperion to see whether asbestos is present. If you move or modify the material to see whether it is in fact asbestos, there is a chance deadly fibres will become airborne, which can lead to health issues.

What should I do if my existing home or new property contains asbestos?

If you have looked around your property and believe that items such as lagging, water tanks, toilet cisterns, insulating boards, decorative coatings, floor tiles or textiles and composites contain asbestos, there are various steps you can take. First of all, do not try to repair or remove the materials if you do not have the appropriate training or license. If the materials are not damaged, then you should be fine. However, if you want to carry out some DIY or home improvements, then you’ll need to enlist the help of an asbestos disposal professional and let builders or contractors know that they could be at risk.

What should I do if my workplace contains asbestos?

If you work in an office or similar environment, there is a slim chance you’ll be affected by asbestos exposure. But if you have noticed damaged items that are known to contain asbestos, contact your employer about the problem. Those responsible for maintaining or repairing non-domestic properties such as landlords and facilities management companies are known as duty holders and are required to actively manage asbestos in buildings. But if you’re a tradesmen, maintenance worker or construction firm, read our second FAQs article to find out what to do if you come into contact with asbestos.

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