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Asbestos - pollution control
property is more than 15 years old, it is possible that it contains
materials made from asbestos.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of many small
Asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and
chemicals. In the past, this led to their use in a wide range of
building materials and products.
Properties built since the mid-1980s are very unlikely to
contain asbestos in the fabric of the building. Properties built
after 1990 are extremely unlikely to contain asbestos anywhere in
Asbestos cement has been widely used as a cladding material and
can still be found in garages and sheds.
Why is asbestos potentially a problem?
All materials containing asbestos can be harmful if fibres are
inhaled and could potentially lead to long-term health problems. In
recent years a number of alternative or substitute products have
Day to day exposure to asbestos
The Health and Safety Executive confirms that there is a very
low level of fibres in the air everywhere because asbestos has been
used so extensively in the past. Exposure to this low level of
fibres is unlikely to harm people’s health.
High, short-term exposure to asbestos fibres can occur during
do-it-yourself work. For this reason, try not to raise dust when
working with materials which might contain asbestos and avoid
sanding or drilling. If in doubt, do not touch it.
Where will you find asbestos products or materials in your
It is not always easy to tell whether a product contains
asbestos, as modern asbestos-free materials often look similar.
Remember it is usually older products that contain asbestos.
The following areas and appliances are where asbestos may be
- domestic equipment
- asbestos lagging
- warm air heating systems
- insulating boards
- sprayed asbestos
- asbestos cement
- textured plasters
- materials for stippling ceilings, walls, etc.
How do you know if a material contains asbestos?
Identifying asbestos products can be difficult but if you think
a product contains asbestos but are unsure, the manufacturer or
supplier should be able to help you. Alternatively you may need to
have it assessed as to whether or not it is asbestos and to see
what condition it is in. Remember, products containing
asbestos can look very similar to those not containing asbestos -
if in doubt seek advice.
What should you do about asbestos in your home?
Do not panic if you have asbestos materials in your home.
Remember, 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 more risk to your or your
If you are a council tenant or have a registered social
landlord, contact the council who will engage a specialist
contractor to carry out the work on any notifiable asbestos
materials. Do not disturb asbestos materials under any
circumstances. If you are in any doubt, contact the Housing
Management Support Team on 01634 333601.
If you are a private tenant, please contact your landlord.
Private owners should employ a licensed contractor to inspect and
if necessary, remove the asbestos. A full list of licensed
contractors can be found on the Health and Safety Executive's
How to report asbestos pollution or get advice on asbestos
Report contaminated land, light pollution, drainage or asbestos
If you are concerned about or affected by asbestos on a or
from a building/construction site (domestic or commercial),
please contact the Health and Safety Executive on
What if I find asbestos in the workplace?
The Control of Asbestos in the Workplace Regulations 2002 places
duties on places of work to:
- Identify asbestos (where it is, how much there is and what
condition it is in
- Assess the risk from asbestos (what are the risks and to
- Prepare a plan that sets out how the asbestos is going to be
- Implement the plan
- Review and monitor the plan and the arrangements put in place
to implement the plan
- Provide information on the location and condition of the
asbestos to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb it.
Dos and don’ts when carrying out DIY:
- If you suspect that you have asbestos materials in your home,
do take extra care when doing DIY
- Do not attempt work on sprayed asbestos,
lagging or insulating boards, as this must be undertaken by a
licensed asbestos removal contractor. If in doubt, seek
- Do not drill, cut or disturb asbestos unless
- Do not scrape or sand asbestos materials
before painting and decorating. Some types of asbestos materials
are very soft and can release large numbers of fibres if rubbed or
How should you dispose of asbestos?
Asbestos waste is a toxic and dangerous waste which must be
disposed of properly. It is against the law to put any asbestos
waste in a dustbin - seek advice from the council
about making arrangements for collection and disposal at a
More information on asbestos disposal can be found at
Where can you get further advice?
Further information and advice on asbestos is available from a
number of sources.
You can contact Medway’s Housing Support Team on 01634
333601 if you are a council tenant.
You should contact a Medway Council environmental health officer
if you are not a Medway Council tenant.
You could consult your general practitioner or health board if
you are concerned about your own health or the health of a member
of your family and think that you or they have been exposed to
The basic rule is, if in doubt ask …Medway Council is
here to help.