Asbestos in your home. Information on living with Asbestos

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1 Asbestos in your home Information on living with Asbestos

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3 Why I have I got this leaflet? You have received this leaflet as Slough Borough Council have identified, through an inspection process, that you have asbestos in your home. This leaflet provides further guidance for you in regards to the do s and don ts with the asbestos in your home. What is asbestos? Asbestos is a strong fibrous mineral, which can resist heat and chemicals. It is mined from rock and milled into fibres from which a wide range of materials were produced. It was most commonly used in building materials between the 1950 s and 1980 s. Products containing asbestos can look the same as those that do not; often the difference can only be found under a microscope by a specialist laboratory. Why asbestos may be a problem Old or damaged materials can release fibres into the air; these can be breathed deep into the lung where they may stay for a long time, causing possible damage. When very high levels of these fibres are breathed in there is a risk of lung diseases, including cancer. 1

4 Where can asbestos be found in my home? The picture and list below shows some common areas where asbestoscontaining materials may be found; the list is not all-inclusive. The list of products that may contain asbestos is a lengthy one; those listed below are some of the more common sources. Exterior 1) Roof garage and shed sheets, tiles or roof felt 2) Gutters and down pipes 3) Fascia Interior 4) Partition walls 5) Panels beneath windows 6) Cupboards around domestic boilers 7) Panels behind electrical equipment 8) Panels behind fires or heaters 9) Panels on or inside fire doors 10) Bath panels 11) Floor tiles 12) Textured coatings (artex) 13) Gaskets and rope seals inside gas appliances 14) Cold water storage tanks 2

5 Is everyone exposed to Asbestos? Yes, a low level of asbestos fibres exists in the air everywhere, as asbestos was so widely used. Exposure to this low environmental level is very unlikely to harm people s health. Levels of fibres may be higher inside buildings that contain Asbestos containing materials especially if these products are damaged or deteriorating. Again it is unlikely, that fibre levels will be high enough to damage health. Asbestos - do s and don ts High short-term exposure to asbestos fibres can occur during DIY work that disturbs asbestos containing materials. For this reason follow the guidelines listed: l DO NOT attempt work involving sprayed asbestos, lagging or insulating boards, as this must be undertaken by a licensed asbestos removal contractor. l DO NOT drill, cut or disturb asbestos l 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 scraped. l DO NOT carry out DIY on asbestos containing materials l DO NOT disturb any asbestos containing materials by putting nails into it l DO NOT drill into asbestos containing materials by hand or power-tools l DO NOT scrape asbestos containing materials or use a steam stripper l DO NOT attempt to remove asbestos containing materials l DO NOT sand down or wire-brush asbestos containing materials l DO NOT break asbestos cement 3

6 l DO NOT use a domestic vacuum cleaner to clear the dust. Hire a cleaner that conforms to BS5415 (Type H) l DO contact us if you are unsure whether an item contains asbestos or if you need further advice l DO keep other people away from area you are working in l DO wear protective clothing (disposable) and face masks EN149 with FFP2 particulate filters is recommended I am a tenant what can I do? Please ensure that you follow the guidelines listed. If you notice a deterioration in the condition of the item containing the asbestos or are worried that an item may contain asbestos please contact Housing Customer Services on /92, option 3, Monday to Friday 9am pm. Before carrying out any structural DIY work always consult Slough Borough Council to seek advice as you may need permission under the terms of your tenancy. Remember, when decorating, the following: l Always soak wallpaper before removing l Don t try to remove old floor tiles or linoleum. Leave them in place and lay new floor coverings over them l Don t try to remove textured coatings from ceilings. Wash any areas of flaking paint before re-painting. Any asbestos identified in your home will be regularly inspected and managed in accordance with HSE guidelines. 4

7 I am a leaseholder/freeholder - what should I do? Under the terms of your lease you are responsible for all fixtures and fittings within your property; this includes artex and floor tiles. Slough Borough Council remains responsible for the building structure and communal areas. Items you suspect contain asbestos are best left in place if in good condition. If you would like to remove asbestos materials we recommend that you contact an asbestos removal contractor licensed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to carry out the removal, or contact the following for advice on what asbestos you can remove without the use of a licensed asbestos removal contractor. If you do remove or seal asbestos as described, we recommend you to inform future owners and our Leasehold Management Department if you are a leaseholder or a freeholder on an estate so that this information can be passed on. 5

8 What is Slough Borough Council doing about Asbestos in the home? Slough Borough Council will reduce the exposure of asbestos (as far as possible), for its tenants, their visitors and contractors working on the properties by: l Carrying out surveys to identify asbestos containing material in all council owned communal areas and individual dwellings when deemed necessary as part of an ongoing program l Compiling and maintaining a comprehensive asbestos register l Assessing the risk from materials containing asbestos in all of its properties where known l Developing and implementing arrangements to manage the risk arising from materials containing asbestos and by ensuring that the arrangements put in place are carried out l Providing information about the presence, location and condition of materials containing asbestos to any persons who will potentially be exposed to asbestos l Providing information about the presence, location and condition of materials containing asbestos to tenants on request l Ensuring that the appropriate actions are taken by any persons who are likely to disturb materials containing asbestos including staff, contractors and consultants. 6

9 Frequently asked questions Q. Are there different types of asbestos? There are various types; these can only be identified by specialists. Q. Is asbestos in floor tiles? It can be present in vinyl tiles but it is safe while washing or polishing the floor. Q. Is asbestos in artex? It can be but it is encapsulated inside the paint which covers it but remember, do not sand the surface of the artex. Q. Can you paint over asbestos? Yes. Q. Is asbestos safe if it gets wet? Yes, providing it does not crumble and is handled carefully. Q. Will it affect my health? No, as long as it is not disturbed or broken. Q. I am a tenant, what should I do if suspect there is asbestos in my home? Telephone Interserve help desk on and ask for a inspector to visit the premises. Q. How should I dispose of asbestos? Tenants of Slough Borough Council can contact the Interserve help desk on and ask for an asbestos removal uplift. Leaseholders can contact a specialist Asbestos removal company, or if the Asbestos is in a safe state, it can be double bagged and taken to Chalvey Waste Depot. 7

10 Useful contacts Health and Safety Executive HSE Infoline: call , visit or Direct Gov - search Home and Community, Doing Work Yourself Asbestos Control and Abatement Division (ACAD) Tel: Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA) Tel: How to contact us Post: Housing Service, The Centre Conference Venue, Farnham Road, Slough SL1 4UT Telephone: /92, choose option 3, Monday to Friday, 9am pm Fax: Minicom: Website: 8

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12 This document can be made available on audio tape, braille or in large print, and is also available on the website where it can easily be viewed in large print. Asbestos in your home If you would like assistance with the translation of the information in this document, please ask an English speaking person to request this by calling /92, option /92, option 3 option /92, /92, option /92, option /92, option 3 Designed and printed by Slough Borough Council BH/5716/31/03/11/G

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