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What do I do if I find asbestos?

Asbestos is not dangerous unless fibres are released into the air. So any asbestos present in buildings will pose no harm if it is in good condition, and can be left in place if it is unlikely to be disturbed.

The release of asbestos fibres is known to cause long term health problems if inhaled and so any activity that causes fibres to be released should be avoided, for example cutting, using machinery, removal of asbestos, drilling or sawing, repair or replacement of ceiling tiles or unintentional damage.

Asbestos was used extensively as a building material in Great Britain from 1950 to the mid 1980s, and continued to be used until 1999. Asbestos was used as a stiffener in many cement-based products used in roofing, gutters, pipes, tanks and for fire insulation purposes.

Residents dismantling, for example, garage roofs, should try and take the panels down in whole pieces. If it is necessary to damage a panel, make sure that it is thoroughly wetted with water to minimise the release of any dust.

Householders can dispose of limited amounts of asbestos cement products at certain Surrey County Council civic amenity sites. It is advisable to contact the County for details of the nearest site and any requirements they may have.

If householders want the asbestos analysed they should contact a private asbestos contractor who will sample and analyse the material for them.


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