Asbestos has been used for fire precaution works in the construction industry for many years. It is now illegal to use asbestos in the construction or refurbishment of buildings. The three types of asbestos still found in premises are blue, brown and white, however, you cannot identify them by colour and all of them are dangerous.
There is no risk from asbestos that is in good condition and if it is not to be disturbed or worked on, it is best left alone.
Asbestos is only a risk to health if fibres are released into the air and inhaled. Breathing air containing asbestos fibres can lead to diseases of the lungs (mainly cancers). Any activity that may release fibres into the air e.g. drilling, sawing or cutting could potentially put people at risk.
There is usually a long delay between exposure to asbestos and onset of illness, this may be as long as 60 years, however, the greater the exposure and the more fibres that are inhaled, the greater the risk to health.
Work involving the removal of asbestos insulation, asbestos coating or asbestos insulation board should only be undertaken by licensed contractors. License holders are obliged to notify the appropriate enforcing authority at least 14 days prior to commencement of works. A notification form and further information can be downloaded from the Health & Safety Executive.