Asbestos In Your Home

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1 How to contact us By phone Head Offi ce Area Office West Area Office East Freephone Repairs and Contact Centre :00am - 8:00pm On-line Visit our website at You can also us at Asbestos In Your Home By visiting us Head Office Carlton Forest House, Hundred Acre Lane, Worksop, Notts S81 0TS Area Office East 17B The Square, Retford, Notts DN22 6DB Area Office West Queen s Buildings, Potter Street, Worksop, Notts S80 2AH All of our offices are open Monday to Friday between 8.40am and 5pm By writing to us A1 Housing Bassetlaw Limited Carlton Forest House, Hundred Acre Lane, Worksop, Notts S81 0TS Developed in partnership with tenants Working in Partnership with Bassetlaw District Council HOUSING GL4 version 3-03/10 Providing Quality Homes & Neighbourhoods HOUSING

2 If you need any help communicating with us or understanding any of our documents, please contact us on Mandarin Urdu Punjabi Polish Introduction This guide is all about asbestos: what it is and the health effects. It will also inform you of where it may be found in your home, what we are doing about it, and how you can help. Even if there is asbestos in your home, it is usually NOT a serious problem. Asbestos is not itself dangerous. Asbestos only becomes dangerous when it gets damaged over time or is disturbed during work on your home. When damaged, asbestos could release fibres that can cause serious lung disease. What is asbestos? Asbestos is a natural mineral (a fibrous silicate) found in rocks all over the world. It has been used commercially for about 150 years because it is strong, flexible and stable. The three types of asbestos used in the UK were: crocidolite (blue asbestos); amosite (brown (asbestos) and chrysotile (white asbestos). When is asbestos a problem? When asbestos-containing materials are damaged or deteriorate with age, they can release tiny fibres into the air. These fi bres can penetrate deep into the lungs. They can stay there a long time and can t be coughed out. Blue and brown asbestos are the most dangerous types. We can arrange for a copy of this document in large print, audiotape, Braille or for a Language Line interpreter or translator to help you. Our contact details: ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME 3

3 What are the health risks? There are asbestos-containing materials in about 5.5 million buildings in the UK. Because asbestos has been so widely used, there is a low level of asbestos fi bres in the air everywhere. Normally the risk to you from asbestos in the home is low. The greatest risk arises when asbestos is damaged or drilled, sawn, scrubbed or sanded. DIY work can result in brief but high levels of exposure. If you think a material might contain asbestos, don t work on it - get our advice. How does asbestos affect health? Asbestos fi bres in the lungs can cause cancer and thickening of the lungs. Where asbestos may be found? Building materials containing asbestos were widely used from 1930 to the mid-1980s, but particularly from the 1960s onwards. So houses and fl ats built or refurbished then may contain asbestos. However, identical properties may not contain the same materials. Different contractors may have used different materials at different times. External structure Roofi ng felt made with bitumen Corrugated roofi ng sheets for sheds and garages Durasteel panels steel-framed sheets with an asbestoscontaining core Flat cladding sheets with or without an aggregate finish Flat roof decking tiles modular tiles used as a walking surface to spread the load on flat roofs Profi led metal sheeting coated with asbestos fibres in bitumen Rainwater downpipes Rainwater guttering Roof cladding Roof slates Roof tiles Roofi ng sheets corrugated for sheds and garages Soil and vent pipes Undercloak board supporting roof tiles where they overhang beyond brickwork. Usually found on the end of the house Wall cladding sheets (double) to early pre-fabs; both plain and decorative Wall cladding sheets (single); both plain and decorative Window boxes for flowers Soffi t boards horizontal board beneath the roof overhang. They bridge the 4 ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME 5

4 gap between brickwork and fascia board with the guttering attached Window cills (external) Internal structure Airbricks Bath panels Bituminous paper lining to the roof Bituminous acoustic pad fi tted beneath stainless steel sinks Cold water tanks in the loft space Decorative ceiling tiles Floor fi nish Cushion fl oor sheet vinyl Floor tiles rigid vinyl Floor tiles thermoplastic vinyl Fire surrounds heat and fi re proof Flue pipes to heating systems Insulation to heating systems Partition sheets or wallboard rarely used in domestic property Lagging to pipes and boilers Textured decorative fi nish to ceilings and occasionally walls. Artex is a well-known brand Textured decorative paint Window cill black cast resin sheet from the manufacturer Eternit Wall boarding to internal partitions, airing cupboard linings, shelving, duct and pipe coversother places Coals and fake ash in early coal effect gas fires Coal bunker lid and slider panel Electric storage heaters up to 1976, used for the heat retention blocks Filler ropes surrounding oven doors and solid fuel fires Fire blankets in kitchens Ironing boards iron-rest heat pad Portable heaters using LPG (liquid petroleum gas) Plant containers Oven gloves Simmering mats for the cooker Asbestos has been used in some heat-resistant household products, such as oven gloves, and ironing boards. The use of asbestos in these products decreased greatly around the mid-1980s. Since1993 the use of asbestos in most products has been banned. These lists are not exhaustive and are only meant as a guide. 6 ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME 7

5 How can I identify products or materials containing asbestos? You cannot tell whether a product contains asbestos simply by looking at it. Often asbestos is masked by other materials or is dyed, which disguises its true colour. Usually, it is older products that contain asbestos. If in doubt, it can be analysed by a laboratory. Remember, products that contain asbestos can look identical to those that don t Since 1976 British asbestos manufacturers have put labels on most of their products to show they contain asbestos, but labels are often removed after purchase or concealed when the products are put in position. The supplier or manufacturer of a product may be able to tell you if it contains asbestos. Often homes built at the same time contain similar materials your neighbours may know if surveys for asbestos have been done. How does A1 Housing manage asbestos in tenanted properties? Asbestos-containing materials will have to remain in social housing for about the next years. No housing provider in the UK has the money or staff to remove them all at once. To gather information on asbestos in your home, A1 collects information and maintains a database of identifi ed asbestos in its properties. These properties will be reinspected from time to time, depending on the type of asbestos and level of risk. After receiving a survey result, A1 will take one of these four actions, depending on the risk: Remove immediately: If the type of asbestos, location or condition has a high risk, A1 will take immediate action to have the material removed Remove as part of a maintenance plan: If the risks are much lower but it would be more practical to remove the material as part of a larger maintenance plan on a number of homes at the same time. Seal/Record and manage: Certain asbestos materials are used in the bare state, and sealing and bonding will reduce or stop the release of fibres. Record and manage: Items that are generally in good condition, sealed and not in a vulnerable position We maintain an Asbestos Register Database showing all survey results, and update it when appropriate. If you are planning home improvements or maintenance and think you have asbestos in your home, always ask our permission in the fi rst instance so we can check our records and advise if any asbestos is present or arrange for a hazardous materials survey to be carried out. Please note that A1 s asbestos database does not include your household items. 8 ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME 9

6 Asbestos do s and don ts Damaged material may release asbestos fi bres, especially if you often disturb it by hitting or handling it, or if it is exposed to extreme vibration or airfl ow. If its condition has changed substantially since your last inspection, please contact A1 Housing using the contact details at the end of this booklet. Do make regular checks of any material that you think contains asbestos. Do keep activities to an absolute minimum in any areas where damaged material may contain asbestos Do take every precaution to avoid damaging asbestos material Do not dust, sweep, or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos Do not saw, sand, scrape or drill holes in asbestos materials Do not trample dust or mess from materials that may contain asbestos through the house. It will result in other furnishings being contaminated and potentially more people being put at risk Do not touch it but look for signs of wear and damage such as tears, abrasions or water damage. What are my responsibilities if I m a tenant? Please remember that changes to the structure or the fabric of the property are not permitted under the tenancy agreement with A1 Housing without prior approval in writing. DIY work can result in brief but high levels of exposure to asbestos fi bres. If you think a material might contain asbestos. Don t take risks! Don t carry out work on it! Asbestos must only be worked on by properly trained and equipped people. Certain kinds of asbestos i.e. blue and brown can only be removed by an HSE licenced asbestos removal company Soft asbestos, asbestos insulating board (similar to plasterboard), sprayed asbestos coatings and Artex (a decorative textured coating to ceilings and walls) must be removed (or made safe) by a professional stripping company licensed by the Health and Safety Executive. The work must be undertaken in accordance with a strict code of practice involving use of specialised equipment and protective clothing. Irresponsible or inappropriate work (commercial or DIY) on asbestos materials in the home can lead to: People s health being put at risk Contamination to the home Contamination of the family vacuum cleaner Asbestos materials in the domestic dustbin Fly-tipping. Carrying out any work to any form of asbestos without knowledge, expertise and the appropriate protection will put people s health at risk. 10 A S B E S T O S I N Y O U R H O M E ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME 11

7 Fly-tipping puts others at serious risk especially children. The refuse collector compresses and grinds up the waste, thereby putting the refuse collectors at risk. Also the standard domestic vacuum cleaner allows the very fi ne needle-like asbestos fi bres to pass straight through the machine to be spread all over the house, thereby endangering the whole family. What if I am Leaseholder? When you take over the lease of your property you will then be responsible for the Asbestos Containing Materials in it. A1 Housing on request will provide survey information for the areas of the building which they are responsible for. What if I ve bought my home under the Right to Buy? When you become a house owner, you are responsible for the asbestos containing materials in your home (subject to the restrictions under the Right to Buy). But if you don t take the precautions stated in this guide, you could be putting at risk the lives of you, your family and the contractor. Useful websites Health & Safety Executive National Society for Clean Air & Environmental Protection Asbestos Information Centre Ltd If you would like more information on asbestos, use the contact information at the end of this booklet. We can; Provide you with a detailed survey information from our asbestos database Carry out a risk assessment Have materials inspected Have materials sampled and analysed After buying your home, you need to make your own arrangements for re-inspection. After receiving this guide, if you personally carry out work, or enable and permit others to carry out work without our prior written approval, you will be totally liable for any costs of dealing with any asbestos incidents, as well as the cost of reinstatement. 12 A S B E S T O S I N Y O U R H O M E ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME 13

8 Notes Notes 14 A S B E S T O S I N Y O U R H O M E ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME 15

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