Checks on Asbestos Building Materials

What should I do about asbestos building materials?

Take the following simple safety steps if you have asbestos materials in your home. It should be borne in mind, however, that if the asbestos materials are in good condition removal should not be necessary and disturbance of such materials by non-specialists could in fact cause risks to health.

  • Check that the materials are in good condition and not worn or damaged. Look for any signs of dust released by the materials. Asbestos materials in good condition can be left in place.
  • You can paint the material to prevent any dust from escaping. Use emulsion paint for insulating board, but use an alkali-resistant primer or coating for asbestos cement products. Do not rub down asbestos material before painting.
  • If asbestos material is damaged or giving off dust, it should be removed.
  • A specialist contractor should be engaged to carry out work on asbestos materials or to remove any sprayed asbestos boards or any other asbestos materials, including any worn or damaged asbestos materials. Similarly, a specialist contractor should be engaged where significant amounts of any asbestos cement products are to be removed.
  • Small amounts of asbestos cement products can be removed on a D.l.Y basis taking these precautions:

    - wear a dust mask approved for asbestos, obtainable from safety equipment suppliers
    - wear an overall, which should be washed afterwards
    - keep other people away from the working area
    - spread a plastic sheet under working area to collect dust
    - wet the material (provided there is no contact with electricity)
    - remove whole sheets or components - do not break them up
    - clean up settled dust with a damp cloth and seal in a plastic bag while still damp
    - do not use a domestic vacuum cleaner as fine asbestos dust will pass through the filter (industrial cleaners suitable for asbestos are available)
    - wash well afterwards.
  • If fire protection material is removed, replace it immediately with a suitable alternative.
  • Do not disturb asbestos materials unless you have to - do not drill or saw them if this can be avoided: all such work should be carried out by specialists.
  • If in doubt, contact a professional (asbestos monitoring/surveying and removal companies are listed on the Internet and in the Classified Telephone Directory).


How should I dispose of asbestos waste?

Asbestos waste is a toxic and dangerous waste which must be disposed of properly. Anyone wishing to dispose of asbestos waste should contact their local authority for advice and only hand over the waste to local authority waste collectors or to someone who has a permit from a local authority to dispose of such waste. There should be strict adherence to any instructions given by a local authority or permit holder regarding the packaging of asbestos waste for removal.


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