Asbestos - What is the problem?
Large amounts of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were used for a wide range of construction purposes in new and refurbished buildings until 1999 when all use of asbestos was banned.
This extensive use means that there are still many buildings in the UK which contain asbestos. Where asbestos materials are in good condition and unlikely to be disturbed they do not present a risk.
However, where the materials are in poor condition or are disturbed or damaged, asbestos fibres are released into the air, which, if breathed in, can cause serious lung diseases, including cancers. The effect on health is not instant but takes years to show itself-usually when exposure has been regular or occupational. According to HSE figures it can be 15 to 60 years before any signs are noticed and every case is different. It is not a case of one fibre kills but a cumulative build up over time, how much exposure and the individual’s susceptibility to the decease.
There will be circumstances where Asbestos can remain 'in situ' so long as it is in good condition and will not be releasing any fibres. This may mean it is 'encapsulated' or 'enclosed' to protect it from damage. An Asbestos survey carried out by a competent surveyor will help to determine the correct course of action.