Is Asbestos a thing of the past?
The dangers of asbestos have been widely known for the better part of a half century. As a result laws have been enacted to prevent its further use, products containing the material have been banned, scores of lawsuits have resulted in enormous financial settlements, educational programs have enlightened the public and widespread removal efforts have rid a large number of homes in the UK of any trace of this once common but deadly hazard. It would be difficult not to conclude that the threat had passed and as a society we can move on to better days ahead. But is that the case? Is the asbestos threat really a thing of the past? Unfortunately, no and below we’ll explain why.
Staying Real about the Asbestos Threat
One has to remember that asbestos was in wide use for more than a century. As such current estimates are that asbestos is still present in as many as 50% of all homes in the UK. 50%. And here’s another sobering fact it gives us no pleasure to present: some 2,500 people die each year in the UK from asbestos-related diseases. That’s more than die in road accidents. And the number is growing, not shrinking.
So what can a concerned homeowner do to protect themselves and their loved ones from the continuing scourge of asbestos? The first thing to do is to pick up a reliable asbestos testing kit. They’re extremely affordable and can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the threat, if any, that asbestos poses to you and your loved ones. If you should discover asbestos is indeed present in your home you have several options.
- Leave it be – Asbestos only becomes dangerous when it becomes powdered and can be easily inhaled. If the asbestos-containing material in your home is in good condition the wisest course of action may be to leave it be. Should you choose this route just be certain to inspect the material from time to time to make sure it has not started to break down in any way.
- Apply a sealant – There are a number of asbestos sealants on the market that will do a fine job encapsulating the asbestos and removing the threat. Should you choose this route make sure you talk an asbestos removal expert first to determine the best sealant to use in your case.
- Remove the asbestos-containing material – If you see the asbestos-containing material in your home is damaged or starting to break down in places you should have it promptly removed. If it is sprayed asbestos, insulating boards or lagging, the removal work must be done by a licensed asbestos removal expert.
We look forward to the day when we can confidently say that the asbestos threat has been eliminated. Unfortunately, that day is not yet here. Still, there are steps you can take to minimize or eliminate the risk in your home and the sooner you know whether that risk is present the better.