Explains what asbestos is, how to tell if you have it, what you should do if you have it, how to dispose of it, where to get professional advice and finding a licensed contractor.
Asbestos is a natural mineral made up of many small fibres. There are three main types - blue, brown and white - but all of these can be harmful if dust containing the fibres is breathed in.
Asbestos has been widely used in building materials and consumer goods. It is very unlikely that you will come across asbestos in houses constructed after 2000, but it may be found in houses built before that date.
It was particularly used to resist heat and for fire protection. Some asbestos materials are easily damaged and can release dust when that happens. Asbestos in houses is not necessarily dangerous but breathing asbestos dust is dangerous and can cause a number of diseases, including mesothelioma cancer, a rare forms of cancer that forms within the lining of the lungs - often many years after the first exposure to asbestos. Asbestos should always be handled carefully.
You can read more about mesothelioma cancer on the NHS website:
Mesothelioma Cancer - NHS Choices Website (external website)
It is very hard to identify asbestos, but the National Safety Executive website has some useful guidance on identifying asbestos in your home:
Identifying asbestos - what does it look like? (external website)
Where can you find asbestos - HSE (external website)
If you suspect that you have asbestos:
We do not collect asbestos, however you can take a small quantity (e.g. up to the size of a single domestic garage and no more than 25 sheets) to certain tips:
For health and safety reasons these sheets should be double bagged/wrapped and securely sealed (joints taped). We advise you not to attempt to break up asbestos.
Please note: the tips only accept asbestos from your home, not a business. If you are a business you should seek advice from an asbestos contractor or specialist waste disposal company. You can find these in your local phone book or on the internet.
If you want to talk to us regarding asbestos disposal, please contact our helpdesk on (01482) 395937.
You may also contact the Health and Safety Executive for general advice on asbestos: Health and Safety Executive - Asbestos (external website)
The Health and Safety Executive manages the licensing of contractors, and these can be searched on their website:
Health and Safety Executive - Asbestos licence holders (external website)