Asbestos has been used in building in many forms for a number of years. Asbestos has been used as a roofing material, insulator and to provide fire protection between parts of a dwelling, particularly between the garage and the main accommodation.
So why can’t DIYers deal with it?
Asbestos is dangerous when inhaled – it’s known to cause lung disease (it’s even got a disease named after it, asbestosis) and the aggressive cancer mesothelioma.
It used to be thought that white asbestos was relatively safe compared to blue and brown asbestos. However, all forms are carcinogenic.
What if I have asbestos in my house? Is it dangerous?
In most cases the material will remain inert, assuming it remains unbroken. Pipe insulation can deteriorate and form a white powder.
If the material is altered (eg to introduce services) or has to be replaced, very specific and detailed precautions have to be implemented. Council-approved contractors also have to be engaged and the material has to be disposed of in a specific manner.
All of these factors lead to asbestos removal being potentially hazardous and costly.
Asbestos removal is not a DIY project.