Suspected asbestos in your home can be enough to trigger a panic. Whether you're worried about your health or your wallet, it can be daunting to find out that the harmful material could be in the walls around you. But don't panic; this short guide will give you an idea of what you can do if you find asbestos.
Asbestos was used in many construction projects before it was discovered just how dangerous it could be. Asbestos fibres can cause various health problems, most commonly mesothelioma, a type of cancer that affects the abdomen and chest. It can also cause lung cancer and a variety of breathing problems.
In buildings, there are different types of asbestos that you may find, though they are all dangerous and should be removed professionally. Under no circumstances is it safe to try and remove, dispose of or destroy any materials that may contain asbestos yourself.
If you suspect there is any asbestos in your house and you are having work done, such as repair or renovation work, it is vital that you disclose your suspicions to any builders or contractors that will be carrying out the work.
Where the asbestos is and how much of it there is that needs to be disposed of can affect the cost of removal. For example, exterior cladding can cost thousands of dollars; however, if the cladding is intact, then it does not typically represent a health hazard, as this is normally "bonded" asbestos. Removing a ceiling with asbestos may cost less than removing cladding. Prices will vary depending on your area, the specifics of the job and the local asbestos removal company you are using.
If a surveyor or other professional has identified suspected asbestos, your first step should be to call a professional asbestos specialist to come and confirm that this is case. If it is confirmed to be asbestos, you may want to obtain several quotes from local companies and choose the company that you think is best qualified and within your price range. Remember that incorrectly handling asbestos can be extremely dangerous, so make sure you verify the company's credentials.
If you have encountered asbestos in the process of carrying out work on your home yourself, it may be worth visiting the doctor and explaining the situation. Get the asbestos disposed of as soon as possible, and do not allow anyone else near the area where you found it.