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What is asbestos?

Asbestos safety information. Where you might find asbestos, how to identify it and how to get it removed. Artex

If we allocate a property, which we know contains asbestos, we will ensure it is safe and that there is no risk to the occupiers.  If a repair to your home would mean disturbing an asbestos product, the work will be carried out by trained employees or licensed contractors to ensure your safety.  We have our own Asbestos Management Policy.  

To find out if a property contains asbestos you should contact OneCALL 0345 8 507 507 or call in to a WDH service access point, they will check the property records, before providing you with the relevant advice.  Tenants should not carry out any work, however small such as fitting shelves, to the property without first asking us for written permission.

The following information is to reassure your concerns about the possible presence of asbestos in your home.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral; it is in most homes in many different forms.  Asbestos products are only dangerous when damaged, worn or worked on with tools.  This is because they can release fibres into the air.  Asbestos dust is made of tiny fibres which, if inhaled, can be harmful to the lungs.  The levels of exposure to which asbestos fibres cause ill health effects are unknown.  What we can be sure of is the more asbestos fibres people are exposed to, the greater the risk.

Asbestos is in many products found in and around the home.  It was used for specific purposes, either to provide heat resistance, such as behind gas fires, or to provide rigidity, as in asbestos cement garages. 

Asbestos cement

In and around the home, one of the most common uses of asbestos is in cement products.  These appear as a hard grey material produced either as sheets or mouldings.  It is common in the construction of garages, sheds, soffit boards, roof tiles, fire surrounds, drainpipes, flue pipes and some water systems.

Other building products

Some roof felts, textured plaster – Artex, paints, floor tiles, bath panels, wall plugging compounds and specialist adhesives can contain asbestos.

Thermoplastic Floor Tiles

If you have plastic floor tiles in your home they may contain asbestos.  If you want to remove them or drill into them to fit carpet grippers etc., please contact us we will be able to check if the tiles contain asbestos and offer advice.

Domestic equipment

Asbestos is used in oven door seals, ironing boards and oven gloves It may also be found in fire blankets and electric heaters, if manufactured before 2000.  The manufacture and use of asbestos materials including second hand asbestos materials were banned in 2000. 

Artex and textured coatings

The use of textured coatings was high throughout the 1970s and 1980s, so the possibility of your home having a textured coating as a decoration to the walls is high.  Some of these coatings contained small amounts of asbestos, between 3% and 5%.  Asbestos is safe if it is not damaged and is coated with a sealant.  Asbestos fibres are only dangerous if they become airborne and are breathed in.  To ensure you and your family are not exposed to any asbestos materials you should follow these simple guidelines.

  • If the textured coating is not damaged or flaking leave it alone.
  • Do not sand, drill, break off or do any work on textured coatings, unless you have had written permission to do so, as this could release fibres into the air.
  • If large areas of the textured coating are damaged or flaking, because of property defects, then you should phone OneCALL 0345 8 507 507. 
  • Any damage not caused by fair wear and tear to wall surfaces will be treated as a rechargeable repair.

Textured coatings may not always be evident in your home.  The materials may have been covered by plaster boards, or could have had a plaster skim applied, to make the walls smooth.  It is important you check with us if you want to drill into any of the walls in your home.  We will be able to advise you as to whether the walls contain any asbestos materials.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends, any asbestos containing materials should be left in place, especially if they are of sound quality, sealed by a coat of paint and not going to be disturbed by any maintenance type works.  It is WDH’s policy not to remove any textured coatings from its properties, unless it will be disturbed by any works our employees are instructed to undertake in your home.

Identification

Identification is not easy.  You cannot tell if a particular product contains asbestos just by looking at it with the naked eye.  It is also untrue the colour of the material indicates the asbestos it contains.

Important

Do not:

  • sand, drill or work on asbestos containing materials with tools.
  • break up any asbestos containing materials.
  • try to remove any asbestos containing materials yourself.

Remember

  • Asbestos fibres are only dangerous if they become airborne and are breathed in.
  • Do not dispose of any asbestos products without getting advice.

To dispose of small amounts of asbestos waste (small amounts mean items such as oven gloves and fire blankets,) you should first ensure it is thoroughly wet, this will stop any dust getting into the air around you.  It must be put in sealed plastic bags, double wrapped and marked as ‘asbestos’.  

The only household waste site in the Wakefield district you can dispose of any asbestos materials is Wakefield Transfer Loading Station, Calder Vale, Greens Industrial Estate, Wakefield WF1 5PH.  You should phone them on 01924 302348, giving them 24 hours notice, and get the correct paperwork before taking the asbestos for disposal.  Employees on site will not help you deposit asbestos materials in the containers.

Under no circumstances should you place asbestos materials in your dustbin or refuse chute. 

If you want to dispose of large asbestos cement sheets then you should not break them up. You should employ an approved contractor who holds a certificate for disposing of asbestos, they will wrap them in polythene sheeting and correctly label the material.  I

f you would like us to provide you with a quote please contact our experienced team on 01977 788292.

If you are in any doubt, please ask us for advice - call OneCALL on 0345 8 507 507.

Keywords

asbestos ; inspection ; check ; safety