Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was used extensively in building work between the 1950's and mid-1980's because of it's versatility and plentiful supply. Asbestos cement was also used up to 1999. Asbestos is dangerous if asbestos fibres or dust is inhaled into the chest, and can lead to lung diseases.
If your property is more than fifteen years old, it's possible that it contains materials made from asbestos.
Common locations are listed below but there may be others in your home - so if in doubt leave well alone and seek expert help.
Anyone planning to dispose of small amounts of asbestos from their home (2 sheets at a time) at the Leamington Spa recycling centre should be aware of changes to the procedure. This advice is aimed at householders. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced a number of leaflets, which are more appropriate for businesses.
Common locations of asbestos are:
- Asbestos cement on garage or shed roofs.
- Asbestos cement on shed and garage wall panels.
- Asbestos cemented drain pipes.
- Asbestos cement of insulation board soffit, infill panels and partitions.
- Asbestos cement on the side of bath panels.
If your home is rented, your landlord may have relevant information. For more information please visit the Asbestos - Where is it found? page.
What to do if you have Asbestos in your home
The general rule is to always leave asbestos alone, it's usually safe unless it's damaged or disturbed.
Paint indoor materials with an alkali resistant paint such as PVA emulsion, and never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials.
Always seek advice before thinking of removing asbestos and follow the basic rules below if carrying out asbestos cement removal work. Do not attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of Insulation Board by yourself as these materials can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor, who may have to take a sample, for example, to identify the type of asbestos.
Removing Asbestos Cement Safely
Asbestos cement can be safely removed by remembering these basic rules:
- Prepare the work area - remove any unnecessary items and cover the floor and surfaces with disposable polythene sheeting.
- Wear protective clothing - disposable overall with hood, disposable paper face mask (for use with asbestos) and rubber or disposable gloves.
- Damp down - use a plant sprayer or hosepipe but don't soak the area, as this will make cleaning up more difficult.
- Remove the asbestos without breaking it up, wrap in polythene sheeting or bags and seal with tape.
- Visually inspect the area and clear up any debris by hand - wipe down with disposable damp cloths. Never use a vacuum cleaner as this will just spread dust around.
- Pick up polythene sheeting and remove protective clothing and dispose of both as asbestos waste.
- Wash hands and face after the job is completed.
Disposing of Asbestos waste
Asbestos cement can be disposed of free of charge by householders at the Recycling Centre (previously the Civic Amenity Site), at Princes Drive in Leamington Spa, although you will need to telephone before you take the asbestos there, on 01926 430775. You can find out more about the centre by visiting the County Council's website.
Asbestos delivered to the Princes Drive Recycling Centre now needs to be double bagged or wrapped prior to being taken to the site and placed in the container provided. The asbestos being disposed of needs to fit through a slot measuring 20cm x 200cm (8" x 80") on the skip. Advice on disposal of larger amounts should contact 01926 412593 or the County Council website link. Residents are advised to contact the site direct on 01926 430775 before going there in order to make sure that there have been no changes to their procedures..
If, as a householder you intend to transport asbestos cement waste in your own vehicle, you do not need to be a registered carrier provided that it is your own waste. However you should take the following steps to ensure that asbestos does not contaminate your car:
- Spray sheets of asbestos cement with water.
- Double wrap or double bag the asbestos cement with heavy duty polythene.
- Ensure the wrapping is secured with tape.
- Make sure vehicle occupants do not have access to the asbestos waste.
Do's and Dont's
- Don't panic if you think you have asbestos in your home - it's usually only a problem if it's disturbed.
- Do treat asbestos with respect.
- Don't drill, saw or disturb materials that contain asbestos.
- Do seek advice if you think you've got a problem with asbestos in your home.
To learn more about asbestos please visit the HSE website.
For further information please contact the Environmental Protection Team on 01789 260835 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.