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What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material which has been widely used for over 150 years. Although an ideal fireproofing and insulation material, asbestos can cause health problems if it is disturbed or damaged.

Why would I have asbestos in my home?

Asbestos containing materials (ACMs) have been used in the UK since the end of the 19th century. Asbestos fibres are strong and resistant to heat and chemicals and once mined and processed were used in the manufacture of a large number of building, fireproofing and insulation materials.

The use of asbestos was banned in 1999 and it became illegal to use any materials containing asbestos. Some have been removed but ACMs are still present in many buildings including workplaces, commercial and public buildings and private houses. Safer materials have been developed to take the place of the many materials containing asbestos.

How can I tell if something contains asbestos?

Generally, it is not possible to tell whether a product contains asbestos as modern asbestos-free materials often look similar. Only professionals with with specific skills and experience should do this and even then, only a laboratory test can positively identify whether a material contains asbestos.

We use specialist contractors to carry out surveys, sampling and testing of any suspected materials.

Asbestos can typically be found in the following places within a home:

  • kitchen floor tiles
  • heater cupboard
  • fuse box
  • wall panelling
  • rain water goods
  • soffit boards
  • floor insulation
  • artex ceiling
  • water tank
  • pipe lagging
  • toilet cistern

What do I do if I find asbestos?

  • Do not disturb it. If the ACM is in good condition leave it alone.
  • If you think you have some asbestos in your home but it is well sealed and not damaged it may be best to leave it alone.
  • Unless it is clear that a material does not contain asbestos such as glass, wood, brick or stone, care should always be taken.
  • Any work such as sanding, drilling or cutting that disturbs walls, floors, doors, ceilings, or roof surfaces could release fibres into your home.
  • Many textured coatings within the home also could contain traces of asbestos. Samples of the coating must be taken to make sure it is free from asbestos before disturbing the material
  • If the ACM is damaged or you suspect an ACM is damaged within your home prior to carrying out any maintenance work do not touch it.
  • If you are a council tenant, contact us using the telephone number in the 'contact us' box to seek advice before taking any action

Does North Lanarkshire Council remove asbestos from its own housing stock?

We do not automatically remove all asbestos from its housing stock.

Asbestos materials that are in good condition and cannot be easily damaged are best left where they are. We will remove asbestos if it is damaged or if we need access to an area where there would be a risk of exposure to tenants or trade workers including during renewal programmes, for example kitchen and bathroom replacements. All removal works are carried out by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.

More information

Please get in touch if you have an enquiry regarding asbestos in your home. Our Asbestos Control Team will contact you to provide advice.

Page last updated:
03 Mar 2021

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