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Asbestos

Asbestos-containing materials which are in good condition do not pose a risk to your health. If they are damaged they can usually be repaired. As a last resort, badly damaged asbestos can be removed.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which was imported from Russia, South Africa and Canada. The rock is crushed and processed to produce long thin fibres and has been added to thousands of different types of building materials.

Why was asbestos used?

Asbestos has excellent tensile strength, is heat and fire resistant and in the past was relatively cheap to produce.

The Health and Safety Executive has estimated that over 1.5 million non-domestic buildings in the UK contain some asbestos. If domestic buildings are also taken into account then this figure is estimated at over 4 million. 

Is there a risk to my health?

Asbestos-containing materials which are in good condition do not pose a risk to your health. Try to ensure that anything you think may contain asbestos remains in good condition and is sealed with paint. Damaged asbestos-containing materials can be repaired. Removal is generally a last resort.

Home improvements, repairs and DIY

Always refer to your tenancy conditions before carrying out any improvements, repairs or DIY - you may need to get permission from the council first.

  • Don’t drill, sand or scrape anything you think may contain asbestos when you are carrying out any home improvements or DIY
  • Always soak wallpaper before removing, if possible use a steam stripper and then gently peel away the paper before redecorating
  • Don’t try to remove textured coatings from ceilings. Wash any areas of flaking paint before repainting
  • Don’t try to remove old floor tiles or linoleum. Leave them in place and lay new floor coverings over them

If you suspect that asbestos-containing materials have been damaged, please contact your local Area Housing Office. 

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