Frequently Asked Questions About Asbestos


What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural substance: a fibrous mineral, formerly extracted and used in many applications where insulation, heat/fire resistance, chemical resistance and rigidity were important. It was used in construction: in roofs, ceiling and door linings, gutters, downpipes for rain, radiators, boilers, flues and heating pipes, engineering in car brakes and shipyards and was also used in many commercial and household products – for instance, it was often mixed in with other materials such as in: floor tiles, fire blankets, ironing boards and oven gloves. It was very widely used during the twentieth century and most buildings erected during that time will probably have some asbestos somewhere in them. Read more on this page…….   and also here …


Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?

The use of asbestos has now been banned in many areas because it has been found to cause serious health problems, including a type of cancer. Read more here ….


Where Is Asbestos Found?

Some common areas are:

Asbestos cement roofs and pipes
Sealants and insulation
Textured Coatings
Floor Coverings

Read more here ……     and also here…

Asbestos can also be found in some surprising places…. and has even been found in children’s crayons….


What Should I Do If I Suspect Asbestos Is Present?

The following information was curated from the HSE Page:

Domestic Property

“Do not try to repair or remove any asbestos materials yourself if you have not had any training for non-licensed asbestos work. You can seek advice from an environmental health officer at your local authority/council (see the Directgov website).

If you are sure (or strongly suspect) that your home contains asbestos materials then it is often best to leave them where they are – especially if they are in good condition and unlikely to get damaged. You should check the condition of the materials from time to time to make sure they haven’t been damaged or started to deteriorate.

Slightly damaged asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can sometimes be repaired by sealing or enclosing them. However, you should only attempt to do this if you have had the necessary training. Any badly-damaged asbestos material that is likely to become further damaged should be removed if it cannot be protected. Some materials (sprayed asbestos coatings, asbestos lagging / insulation or asbestos insulating board) should only be removed by a contractor licensed by HSE. Your local environmental health officer can provide advice on this.

If you are planning any DIY home improvements, repairs or maintenance – and intend to bring in any additional builders, maintenance workers or contractors – you should inform them of any asbestos materials in your home before they start work. This will help reduce the risks of any ACMs being disturbed. HSE strongly encourages the use of trained professionals to repair or remove ACMs. …….. ” You can read more at the HSE page for domestic properties.


This page contains public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence.