You’ve spent months, even years, researching all the latest green tech and painstakingly renovating your home so that it’s as eco-friendly as possible.
And you didn’t stop there. You’ve bullied your entire family into following the waste recycling system you’ve set up, you shop organically and never use harmful cleaning products (no matter how much cheaper they may be).
Basically, you’re a pro at this ‘going green’ business.
But there is one thing you might not have considered.
A hidden environmental health hazard
If your house was built before 2000 (or had any construction work done on it before then), there could be a serious environmental health risk lurking behind its sustainable façade.
Yup, we’re talking about asbestos.
A strong and durable material consisting of a blend of natural fibres, it became a favourite product with new home and commercial builders due to its heat resistant quality.
Eventually, research linked it to several different diseases and health conditions, until it was banned for use in buildings in the UK in 1999.
Understanding asbestos-related health risks
Now asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen and, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), is responsible for around 5000 deaths in the UK every year.
Although it’s no longer used by builders (or shouldn’t be), existing asbestos materials still pose a major health risk. If disturbed, small fibres released into the atmosphere can be breathed into the lungs, where they can cause a whole load of damage.
Repeated exposure, especially from a young age, increases the probability of an asbestos-related illness or disease developing.
So that you can guarantee your home is as safe, green and sustainable as possible, here are some top tips for dealing with and identifying asbestos in your house.
- Due to its popularity, asbestos was used in lots of different products, so it can be found all over your house. Common places it’s most likely to be contained include the insulation, floor tiling, around hot water pipes, ceilings and wall panels.
- Don’t forget about your garden, either. Often added to asphalt, it could be hidden in your pathing stones, garage or even the shed. It was even used in brake pads, so your vehicle could also be a risk (although it’s likely MOTs have already picked up on this).
- If you suspect your home may contain asbestos or are concerned about this potential environmental health risk, you can ask for help and guidance from your local council. They should be able to give out information about surveying and known asbestos sources in your community.
- Remember, so long as it’s not an immediate risk or likely to disturbed anytime soon, small amounts of asbestos can simply be left alone.
- If you’re planning to majorly reconstruct your home, then removal or management will be necessary. Unless you’ve had proper training, don’t do this work by yourself. Hire a licensed, professional asbestos removal company to safely take care of it.
- If you identify any symptoms of asbestos damage to your body, you should automatically visit your
doctor. You can also get help and advice from organisations like Asbestos Awareness. The
organisation aims to raise awareness about asbestos diseases and to help victims and their loved
ones to deal with the issues it causes. You can get specialist help from them and start working
towards improving your health and understanding how asbestos can affect you for the rest of your
Don’t let asbestos remain a hidden environmental health risk in your home. Follow our top tips and you’ll have peace of mind that your house is safe for your family to live in.