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Buying an older home: What to Expect When It Comes to Asbestos

February 14, 2022 Comments Off

The word “asbestos” is one that no homebuyer wants to hear. Another is subservience, but that’s a different issue. We deal with asbestos-
related inquiries on a regular basis at Asbestos Removal 247, so we thought we’d share our expertise. So, what is asbestos, where can it
be found in a structure, and why is it a problem?

What is asbestos and where may it be found?

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was once widely employed as a construction material. In truth, chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite,
anthophyllite, tremolite, and actinolite are a set of six naturally occurring minerals that have been mined for almost 4,000 years. However,
it was not until the late 1800s that their valuable characteristics were recognised. Asbestos is a low-cost material that is fire, heat,
chemical, and electrically resistant, as well as a great insulator.

It’s particularly prevalent in residential buildings, where it’s blended with other materials like cement sheeting, corrugated roofing, and wall
coatings like Artex. Asbestos was commonly employed in the insulation of gas pipelines, water cisterns, pipe lagging, behind fuse boxes
and around boilers, as well as in floor and ceiling tiles.

Blue (crocidolite) and brown (amosite) asbestos were banned in the UK building industry in 1985, while white asbestos (chrysotile) was
not completely banned until 1999. While homes built this century in the UK are unlikely to contain asbestos, properties built before 1999
should be regarded with caution. White asbestos, for example, is found in Artex. It was a common floor and ceiling treatment in the 1950s
and 1960s, and it was still in use in the mid 1980s.

What are the risks of asbestos exposure to one’s health?

Asbestos, unfortunately, has a fatal side effect in humans. When inhaled, the fibres are a known carcinogen, causing substantial long-
term lung damage like malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer, as well as COPD, plural thickening, and effusion. Oesophageal,
gallbladder, kidney, and throat cancers are among the several cancers linked to asbestos exposure.

Breathing in asbestos fibres is the most typical way for them to enter the body. In fact, asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are normally
not considered hazardous unless they release dust or fibres into the air, which can then be inhaled. ACMs can be broken down by
damage and degradation, making fibre release more likely.

What should you do if asbestos is discovered on your property?

According to the British Lung Foundation, finding asbestos in the home isn’t uncommon, and in most situations, there’s nothing to be
concerned about. There is no immediate danger to your health as long as it has been properly kept, is not decomposing, and has not
been disturbed.

Most residential property surveys will identify common asbestos-containing building elements and recommend additionalinquiry. Even a
comprehensive RICS Building Survey is unlikely to provide any information about the state of any ACMs in the property, let alone the
expenses of removing them.

Don’t be alarmed if ACMs were discovered during your house inspection. The best course of action is to remain calm and seek additional
professional assistance. Under no circumstances should you attempt to remove asbestos yourself. It must be appropriately disposed of by
a skilled, accredited, and licenced operator.

We do Home Buyer Asbestos Surveys at Asbestos Removal 247 to provide expert analysis and insight, including thorough testing in UKAS
recognised laboratories and comprehensive reports. Asbestos surveys can be difficult to interpret for the inexperienced eye, which is why
we created this service specifically for home buyers, providing clear and unbiased information in plain English.