Asbestos is a hazard, and if it is present in your property then you will need to take steps to minimize or eliminate the danger it poses. Sometimes this will be possible through implementing a risk management plan and leaving the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) undisturbed except for testing and monitoring their condition. Other times, it will be necessary to call in an asbestos removal service to take the hazardous materials away entirely.
What are the Risks of Asbestos?
Inhalation of asbestos can lead to a number of health issues and complications, notably lung cancer or cancer of the chest lining. Anybody who uses the affected property could potentially be at risk if they find themselves exposed to asbestos. In particular, tradespeople who need to saw, cut or drill into the fabric of the property will be at risk, as this can easily lead to the installation of asbestos dust. Often, there will seem to be no adverse effects at first, but symptoms can surface up to 60 years after exposure. Blue and brown asbestos are the most dangerous, but white asbestos can still present a hazard.
Is Asbestos Removal Always Necessary?
Despite the potential hazard that asbestos can pose, it is not always necessary to call in an asbestos removal service. Often, it is entirely possible to manage the risk without removing asbestos from the property. The substance only presents a health hazard when inhaled, so if it remains solid and locked in the structure of the building it is usually perfectly safe. The danger arises either when carrying out work on the building that leads to asbestos being inhaled, or when ACMs have deteriorated and begun releasing fibres into the air. If neither of these things are taking place, asbestos removal may not be the most effective way to manage the risk. That being said, if you want to make sure there is absolutely no risk present and keep it that way for the long term, asbestos removal is the only complete solution.
How to Tell if Asbestos Should be Removed
If you have doubts about whether it is necessary to have asbestos removed, or whether asbestos is present at all, then it can be worth having asbestos testing carried out. Preferably, this should take the form of a full asbestos survey. This will tell you exactly where asbestos is (assuming it is present in the first place), what type of asbestos or ACM is present and, crucially, what condition this material is in. This will tell you whether any ACMs in your property have deteriorated into such poor condition that fibers are being released into the air and need to be removed, or whether they are currently safe and other steps will be sufficient to manage the risk. A survey can also help you determine whether asbestos is present in specific parts of the structure where you wish to have work carried out, again identifying an immediate risk that may require complete asbestos removal.