The Danger of Asbestos Exposure in the Home

Asbestos exposure in the home can lead to a myriad of asbestos related diseases that you are unlikely to be aware of until several years down the line.

Asbestos has been banned in the UK since 1999 but you can almost guarantee that any home constructed before this contains some asbestos.

Where asbestos might be hiding in your home

There are numerous places you can find this material ranging from floor tiles and linoleum to Artex ceilings and insulation boards.  Some types of wall panelling may be asbestos insulation board. Economic asbestos roofing was often used on outbuildings and extensions.

The interior of your fireplace and its surround might contain asbestos and your boiler and pipes might be lagged with it.

As daunting as this may sound, if asbestos products in the construction of your home are in good condition you don’t need to worry.  For example, if the floor tiles or linoleum are not worn, cracked or broken asbestos exposure isn’t an issue.  However, if they are you could be breathing in airborne fibres without realising it. Often you’ll be able to cover over old floor tiles with new and the same applies to ceilings. Alternatively you can, and in some cases must, remove asbestos from your home.

To avoid asbestos exposure in the home the first step, when you suspect you have a problem, is to test the area.  You can either organise a survey or purchase an asbestos self-testing kit.  The latter is the cheaper of the two options. Our testing kits contain all the equipment you need to take samples safely.  Results come back within 24/48 hours. If the test comes back positive, you can then seek advice from professionals as to what to do about it.  If the only option is to remove it, you’ll need an asbestos abatement operative who is licensed to remove and dispose of the product.

Asbestos exposure in the home

Quite apart from the danger of damaged construction materials, there are other ways you can be exposed. Fly tipping is a growing problem and kids tend to be drawn to items that are carelessly discarded.  In the past year there have been numerous reports of asbestos being dumped by the side of the road, on waste land and wooded areas.  Sometimes idiots break up asbestos roofing panels and insulation boards before dumping them.  This means that children who find it fun to jump up and down on the debris will inhale lethal fibres. In the same way, derelict properties are a hazard for kids, no matter how exciting they may be for a den!

When they return home fibres will be clinging to their clothes.  Many women whose husbands worked with asbestos are now dying from mesothelioma (asbestos cancer) because they washed their work clothes. Teach your children about the danger of asbestos exposure!

The old ironing board that has been in the family for years possibly contains asbestos.  If it is worn, get rid of it! Retro items are fashionable at the moment but old fires and retro hairdryers may also contain asbestos.  Give them a miss!

Asbestos self testing kit

At Asbestos Sampling it is our contention and that of many scientists that one asbestos fibre is dangerous. Asbestos exposure to hundreds of fibres is a death sentence for many. We all have to die of something but the slow ‘incubation’ of mesothelioma and other related diseases is something you can prevent.  If you would like more information about our asbestos self testing kits call us.  We’ll be happy to discuss any concerns you may have.

Do you have Asbestos Products lurking in your Kitchen?

When we look for asbestos around the home we often focus on materials used in construction, but what about asbestos products in domestic use?

In addition to construction materials many old toys, domestic appliances and items for personal use contain asbestos. Those manufactured before 2000 in the UK are a potential source of exposure to lethal fibres.

Here are some you should be aware of, and if in doubt test for asbestos:

Oven gloves

Oven and heat protective gloves manufactured before the year 2000 are likely to contain asbestos. Studies have shown that gloves in good condition pose minimal risk. However, those that have been well worn with breaks in the fabric will release fibres that you could inhale.  For more information on research into oven mitts and other protective heat resistant clothing containing asbestos click on Exposure and risks from wearing asbestos mitts

Domestic appliances

Due to its excellent fire resistant properties, asbestos was used in the manufacture of linings for a whole range of domestic appliances used in the kitchen.  These include:

  • Grills
  • Toasters
  • Deep fat fryers
  • Cooking ranges
  • Ovens
  • Slow cookers
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines
  • Clothes dryers
  • Ironing boards
  • Pot holders

Indeed any appliance that was prone to overheat or used at high temperature benefited from asbestos materials. Unfortunately over time, with damage, the risk of fibres escaping is high.

Asbestos products for personal use

Hair driers: The mineral was also used in many hair driers because they were and still are used at high temperature.

Bottle warmers: The interiors of some baby bottle warmers were insulated with asbestos.

Heat guns: In 1977 Top Flite Models Inc. recalled one of its branded high temperature heat guns. The T/F Monokote guns were used by consumers who enjoyed building model aeroplanes. The heat shields inside the appliance actually released fibres into the air when the guns were being used.

Other regularly used appliances containing asbestos were electricity powered heaters, blankets and hair curling tongs.


Tremolite is one of the most lethal types of asbestos and it is this mineral that is most likely to be found in children’s toys. We’d like to say that its use in the manufacture of toys has ended but unfortunately this is not the case, particularly in toys produced in China.

Old and new crayons, Crime Scene Kits and toys cars with brakes are likely to contain asbestos if more than 17 years old and/or manufactured in China – check the labels!

Asbestos testing kit

If you have any doubt as to the presence of asbestos products in your home, buy an asbestos testing kit. It will put your mind at rest at a minimum and potentially save your life at best! Inhaling asbestos fibres can lead to cancer which may not manifest for many, many years.