Asbestos: the facts
If asbestos is present within your property Watford Community Housing have a management policy to ensure that you are kept safe. It covers what you must do prior to undertaking any refurbishment works that will cause damage to any materials within your home and how to report damage to known asbestos or a suspected material that may contain asbestos.
What is Asbestos? Where/ When was it used?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which has been mined for hundreds of years; its main uses were for fire and sound protection. However it was used in over 3000 products which we come into contact with daily, in our home and work life. Materials containing asbestos were used heavily in the 1960's through to the mid 1980's, but some asbestos products were still manufactured and installed in many homes across the UK up to the end of 1999. Therefore properties constructed since 2000 should be asbestos free. Asbestos cannot generally be seen with the naked eye and requires samples to be taken for analysis to confirm if it is present or not. However, it is known which materials were manufactured with asbestos, some we have covered and also available in our Staying Safe: Asbestos leaflet.
Is Asbestos Dangerous?
Yes it can be... It has been proven that breathing asbestos fibres can cause respiratory problems and in many cases lead to death. However if asbestos containing materials are in a good condition and not abrasively disturbed then there are NO HEALTH RISKS.
If you encounter damaged asbestos this does not mean you have been exposed to levels that may cause you harm. The asbestos containing materials that have been generally identified in our housing stock are deemed low risk as the asbestos fibres are held firmly within the material it is mixed with reducing the chances of fibres being released into the air if slight damage occurs.
However it is important that you notify us whenever you find damaged materials which you suspect to contain asbestos within your property or on any Watford Community Housing land. You can do this by contacting our Customer Services Team on 01923 209 000. If you are unsure about what asbestos is or where it is located generally, please use the following as guidance, but we would also recommend that if you are planning on carrying out any works that would alter any of the structure please call us.