Asbestos in Your Home Questions & Answers

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1 sbestos in Your Home uestions & nswers This leaflet is aimed at householders, landlords and tenants, listing some of the frequently asked questions on asbestos and man-made mineral fibres (MMMF) commonly asked by members of the public. Further copies of this leaflet are available on our website at - select Safety at Home. Detailed guidance for employers and people working with asbestos is issued by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) More information for employers and employees is available on the Council's website with links to free HSE leaflets to download go to and select Safety Hazards > sbestos sbestos What is the risk of getting lung cancer from asbestos exposure? The Department of Health statistics for deaths from lung cancer in the UK are 7.2% in men and 3.7% in women. The extra risk from non-occupational exposure to asbestos is minuscule. I have heard that for asbestos exposure, one fibre kills. Is this true? sbestos fibres are present everywhere in the air at very low levels. This means that everyone is breathing in a very low level of fibres all the time. The small burden of fibres resulting from this background exposure appears to be well tolerated, so the theory that one asbestos fibre kills is unfounded. I have read that asbestos fibres can be found in water (and red wine). What is the risk from consuming them? uality Customer Services Working with the Community 68 Grove Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4UH Tel: Fax: DX6921 ESTBOURNE Minicom website:

2 There is no convincing evidence that the ingestion of asbestos fibres is associated with any risk to health. Just how dangerous is asbestos? sbestos is a mineral substance that can split into many tiny fibres. When present in the air, these fibres can be inhaled into the lungs where they may lodge. If sufficient fibres are inhaled they can lead to diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and another type of cancer called mesothelioma. Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos) pose a greater risk than chrysotile (white asbestos), which is the most common type of asbestos found in buildings. The exposures encountered by members of the general public outdoors or in their homes are very low and unlikely to present any risk. Nevertheless, it is wise to take precautions if you are handling any substance you suspect may contain asbestos. I am fairly sure I have white asbestos in my home. How do I know whether it is pure chrysotile or contaminated with the more dangerous kind of asbestos (amphibole asbestos crocidolite and amosite)? To be certain if crocidolite or amosite are present the material will need to be analysed by a specialist firm. s a rule chrysotile was used for most applications where some consumer contact was expected, with amphiboles reserved for industrial applications, but some amphibole (especially amosite) was used in buildings, particularly those constructed in the 1950s. re old asbestos products more dangerous? Not necessarily. In some cases (for example, asbestos cement) the product containing fibres may deteriorate with age, making fibre release more probable. sbestos fibres are very durable and their condition will not normally change over time. There is no evidence that the overall risk associated with these fibres will increase, but exposure potential may be higher with materials in poor condition due to age. Should all asbestos products be removed from buildings? It is recommended that, if it is undamaged and unlikely to be disturbed, material containing asbestos should be left in place, if necessary sealing it with paint or plastic film. I have an asbestos cement garage roof. What precautions should I take when removing or repairing it? s this is outdoors there is unlikely to be any risk of serious exposure to asbestos fibres. However, asbestos cement sheets can be fragile so take care to avoid falling through the

3 roof. If you do decide to dismantle your garage roof, the work should be carried out in accordance with HSE guidance in "Working with sbestos Cement". If possible, spray the sheets with water to reduce dust emissions. Try to remove them whole and take care to avoid breakage or sliding dry sheets over one another as this will release asbestos fibres into the air. void the use of power tools. disposable dust mask that is "CE" marked to EN149 with FFP2 particulate filters will provide an additional level of protection. fter removal, the asbestos should be bagged or wrapped in polythene sheets, sealed, labelled "sbestos" and taken to a disposal site licensed to take asbestos wastes (If you are in Eastbourne contact Roselands Depot telephone ). Whole sheets of asbestos cement do not need to be sealed but should be wrapped in polythene sheets. Information on disposal can be obtained from your local authority. I have changed the brake linings in my car myself for a number of years. m I at risk from asbestos exposure? lmost certainly not. Vehicle brake shoes/pads used to contain chrysotile asbestos, although modern replacements do not. The dust which accumulated as a result of wear could therefore contain some residual asbestos fibres, although the heat generated when the brakes are used is so great it would destroy much of the fibre present. Occasional exposures to the residues are extremely unlikely to result in asbestos-related diseases. Some professional mechanics have contracted such diseases but their exposure was much more intense than that of an experienced amateur and some of these mechanics were additionally exposed by shaping and fitting new linings to old shoes, an operation not performed by the amateur. My ceiling has a decorative coating (rtex, Pebblecoat and Wondertex used to contain chrysotile asbestos). How should I remove it? If possible, you should paint, cover or plaster over the decorative coating rather than remove it. There are products on the market for covering textured surfaces. lternatively, if the coating is applied to a plasterboard surface the whole board may be removed in pieces large enough for convenient handling and disposal. If you do wish to remove the surface finish only, reduce as much as possible the chance of you generating and inhaling any dust by soaking the surface with warm water and scraping off wet. Do not sand the decorative coating or scrape off dry. For best protection while doing any minor DIY work you should wear a disposable dust mask, "CE" marked to EN149 with FFP2 particulate filters. The paint on my asbestos soffit boards is flaking badly. What is the best way to renovate and redecorate them?

4 void working directly overhead. The existing paintwork may be removed by carefully applying a proprietary paint remover to the surface or by spraying with water and gently scraping off loose material. sealant and finishing coat should then be applied. If sanding is absolutely unavoidable then a coarse wet and dry paper USED WET will restore a finish. You should wear a dust mask (as above) while doing this work. The area should be well cleaned with a damp cloth when the job is complete and the cleaning materials sealed in a plastic bag for disposal. It would be better to avoid painting the asbestos soffit boards in the first place if you have the choice. How should I clean my asbestos cement corrugated roof? Do not clean the roof unless really necessary as asbestos fibres may be released during the process. If cleaning is necessary apply a moss killer (eg. Jeyes' fluid), using a brush or spray, then remove the dead moss with a stiff broom a day or more after treatment. Do not sand or scrape the cement. The use of crawling boards should be employed when working on asbestos cement roofs, as there is a risk of the boards breaking under pressure and the worker falling through. HSE guidance "Working with sbestos Cement" gives further directions. I have some lino in my kitchen which is backed with asbestos paper. This comes away when I try to lift the lino. What should I do to remove it? First ensure that the paper really does contain obvious fibrous material and check its condition. If the paper is intact it is unlikely to release much fibre and the lino can be removed first and the paper dampened with warm water and gently scraped or peeled off. The waste should be collected in a strong plastic bag, and sealed before disposal. If the paper (which is often bituminous) has deteriorated badly, with visible fibre on the surface, the operation is more difficult to conduct without generating dust. Clear the area as far as possible and seal off the room by closing all doors connecting with other rooms or use plastic sheeting to cover apertures without doors. Remove the lino and dispose of it by wrapping in plastic and sealing with tape. s sections of the lino are removed, damp the paper with a water spray and collect into a strong plastic bag which should be sealed for disposal. You should wear a dust mask which conforms to EN149 with FFP2 particulate filters during the process and outer clothing should be laundered separately from other clothing on completion.

5 I have asbestos cement gutters that I want to remove. How should I do this? The procedure is basically the same as that for asbestos cement roofing. Sections of guttering should be removed in one piece wherever possible and any dusty material should be dampened down with water. Place the material in strong plastic bags (asbestos should be double-bagged) and label clearly. Small quantities of asbestos waste arising in the home should be dampened to prevent dust or fibres escaping and then sealed in a strong plastic bag marked "SBESTOS". Larger quantities should not be broken up, but should be wrapped in polythene sheeting, sealed and labelled. sbestos waste should never be put in the household dustbin. Householders who have asbestos waste for disposal should contact the local authority's licensed disposal site in Eastbourne, this is Roselands Depot, telephone How should I dispose of the asbestos materials that I have removed from my house? sbestos materials are treated as special waste, and so cannot be disposed of in the same way as normal household waste. Place the material in strong plastic bags (asbestos should be double-bagged) and label clearly. Small quantities of asbestos waste arising in the home should be dampened to prevent dust or fibres escaping and then sealed in a strong plastic bag marked "SBESTOS". Larger quantities should not be broken up, but should be wrapped in polythene sheeting, sealed and labelled. sbestos waste should never be put in the household dustbin. Householders who have asbestos waste for disposal should contact the local authority's licensed disposal site in Eastbourne, this is Roselands Depot, telephone I have a water tank made from asbestos cement. Is it safe? Even if fibres are being released into the water, there is no evidence that exposure to asbestos in drinking water has any adverse effect on health at all. The outer surface of the tank is usually in a relatively inaccessible place and so should remain in good condition. If access around the tank is needed at frequent intervals then sealing the surface with a decorative or other finish may be a sensible precaution. What is the danger from asbestos released during fires? (eg. warehouses with asbestos roofs) There is no evidence of a risk to health due to exposure to asbestos released during fires. This is mainly from asbestos cement roofing materials and most of the fibres remain sealed within the fragments. However, it is best to minimise exposure to asbestos wherever

6 possible, and so if it is suspected that asbestos may be released during a fire, local residents should stay indoors and should not pick up or otherwise disturb any debris from the fire. What are the dangers of living near land which is contaminated by asbestos? There is no reason to suppose that the environmental levels of asbestos in the vicinity of contaminated land will be significantly elevated. What asbestos products are currently on the market? White (chrysotile) asbestos is the only type of asbestos which may still be marketed in the UK. It is most commonly found in asbestos cement products such as roofing tiles and profiled sheets. ban on all the remaining uses of asbestos is currently being considered by the Government. How can I find out if the house I am buying contains asbestos? This can be extremely difficult and buyers will almost certainly need professional advice. full investigation will normally involve opening up parts of the building if they wish to know for certain and most sellers will not permit this. Therefore, surveyors can only make visual inspections of those parts of the property which are reasonably accessible. In some cases this may allow them to warn of the possible presence of asbestos, eg. the age or construction of the property may indicate the possible presence of asbestos. Buyers who are concerned should not rely on a mortgage valuation, as this is unlikely to reveal the presence of asbestos. Even the more detailed Homebuyers Report is not aimed at identifying contamination by harmful substances, although the surveyor would be expected to provide a warning if he sees that they are present. full Building Survey should reveal the presence of asbestos (unless it can only be detected by an intrusive survey), but buyers who want specific advice on this should obtain written confirmation that the surveyor they propose to instruct has the necessary training and experience to identify asbestos if it is present. seller is not under any obligation to reveal the presence of asbestos, although if he provided false or misleading information in response to an express enquiry he may be liable if loss results. Sellers may, however, be unaware themselves of the presence of asbestos. I live in a block of council-owned flats where asbestos has been used in construction. Whose responsibility is it to deal with the asbestos?

7 The management of asbestos in any building is the responsibility of the building owner, in this case the council. Contact the council's housing department. What requirement is there for landlords to inform tenants of the presence of asbestos in a house? There is no formal requirement on landlords to inform tenants of the presence of asbestos or do anything about it unless it is such that they should reasonably have been aware of it and it is a real threat to the tenant's personal safety. The Defective Premises ct 1972 puts a duty of care on the landlord to take such care as is reasonable in all the circumstances to see that tenants and other people are reasonably safe from personal injury or disease caused by a defect in the property. The Landlord & Tenant ct 1985 implies into all tenancies a condition that the rented property is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and an undertaking that the landlord will maintain that standard throughout the tenancy. property shall only be regarded as unfit for human habitation if it is so defective that it is not reasonably suitable for occupation. ny enquiries regarding fitness for human habitation is dealt with by our Residential Services Team; telephone Can I get a grant to have the asbestos removed from my home? Grants are not generally available for the removal of asbestos. Home repairs assistance grants may be available from the local authority, but all applications are means-tested and no assistance can be guaranteed. Man-made Mineral Fibres (MMMF) Do MMMF pose any health risks? There is no evidence that MMMF at ambient levels pose any long-term risks to human health. The coarse fibres may produce irritation of the skin, throat and eyes when MMMF products such as loft insulation are being installed or removed, so it is wise to take precautions when undertaking such operations. How do I know whether the fibre in my house is asbestos or MMMF? If it is loft or cavity insulation then it is almost certain that it is not asbestos but MMMF. MMMF are also used in a variety of domestic products, generally as heat insulation. Most of the asbestos used in houses is found in sheet form as insulating boards or asbestos cement sheets. Other asbestos cement products include pipes for sewerage, rainwater and flues.

8 sbestos is also found in textured paints such as rtex, and in some older domestic appliances such as irons, toasters and some forms of heater. Further Information - Disposal of sbestos Waste ny waste containing asbestos is classed as a controlled waste under the Environmental Protection ct sbestos waste is also classified as special waste under the Special Waste Regulations These regulations provide more stringent controls over the handling and disposal of the most harmful and dangerous wastes. Under these regulations all movements of asbestos waste have to be tracked, by means of a consignment note system, until they reach a suitable waste management facility. For further advice on compliance with these regulations you should contact the Environment gency (for England and Wales) or the Scottish Environment Protection gency (for Scotland). The provisions of the Special Waste Regulations 1996 also apply to householders Under the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994, all controlled waste including asbestos waste must be kept, treated or disposed of at a site licensed to accept such waste. lthough in some circumstances, eg. for some recovery operations, sites do not need to be licensed, a waste management licence is required for all sites wishing to handle asbestos waste. The licence will indicate that asbestos waste can be handled, and also set out terms and conditions to prevent harm to human health and pollution to the environment. ll asbestos is disposed of by landfill. Those sites that can accept asbestos operate special procedures to ensure safe disposal. Holders or producers of controlled waste are also subject to the Duty of Care under Section 34 of the 1990 ct. The duty of care places a responsibility on everyone having waste or in control of it to ensure it is managed safely, and transferred only to persons authorised to deal with it. uthorised persons include holders of waste manager licences, registered waste carriers and waste collection authorities. Transport of asbestos waste must be in accordance with the following regulations and codes of practice: Special Waste Regulations 1996 (Statutory Instrument 1996/972) Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road Regulations 1996 (Statutory Instrument 1996/2005)

9 Carriage of Dangerous Goods (Classification, Packaging and Labelling) and Use of Transportable Pressure Receptacles 1996 (Statutory Instrument 1996/2002) Environment Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991 (Statutory Instrument 1991/2839 Controlled Waste (Registration of Carriers and Seizure of Vehicles) Regulations 1991 (Statutory Instrument 1991/1624) There is also guidance supplied by the HSE on the transport of dangerous materials in The carriage of dangerous goods explained: Part 1 Guidance for consignors of dangerous goods by road and rail (classification, packaging, labelling and provision of information) 1996 (HSG 160) and The carriage of dangerous goods explained: Part 2 Guidance for road vehicle operators and other involved in the carriage of dangerous goods by road 1996 (HSG 161), sbestos waste should be kept separate from other waste. sbestos waste should be doublebagged in heavy-duty polythene bags and clearly marked with the label prescribed for asbestos prior to transport to the disposal site. The asbestos waste should also be carried in a suitable container, eg. an enclosed skip, which should also be labelled. Carriers who transport waste must be registered with the Environment gency. Householders who have asbestos waste for disposal should contact the local authority's licensed disposal site in Eastbourne Roselands Depot, telephone Small quantities of asbestos waste arising in the home should be dampened to prevent dust or fibres escaping and then sealed in a strong plastic bag marked "SBESTOS". Larger quantities should not be broken up, but should be wrapped in polythene sheeting, sealed and labelled. SBESTOS WSTE SHOULD NEVER BE PUT IN THE HOUSEHOLD DUSTBIN. The provisions of the Special Waste Regulations 1996 also apply to householders eh leaflets/commercial/asbestos in your home - q&a

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