Asbestos

Some of our properties may contain asbestos. Asbestos was widely used from 1930 to around 1980 and houses and flats built or refurbished then may contain asbestos. This applies to all buildings, not only those owned and maintained by us.

If there is asbestos in your home, it is usually not a serious problem. Asbestos itself is not dangerous, it only becomes dangerous when it gets damaged over time or is disturbed during work on your home. 

What asbestos is

Asbestos is a natural mineral (a fibrous silicate) found in rocks all over the world. It has been used commercially for about 150 years because it is strong, flexible and stable. The three types of asbestos are used in the UK are:

  • Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
  • Amosite (brown asbestos)
  • Chrysotile (white asbestos)

Health risks

When asbestos containing materials are damaged or deteriorate with age, they can release tiny fibres into the air. These fibres can penetrate deep into the lungs and when in high levels can cause lung diseases such as asbestosis and lung cancer.

As asbestos was used so widely in the past everyone is exposed to very low levels of fibre in the air. Exposure at this very low level is unlikely to harm your health.

The greatest risk arises when asbestos is damaged or drilled, sawn, scrubbed or sanded. DIY work can result in brief but high level of exposure. If you think a material might contain asbestos, do not work on it and get expert advice.

Where asbestos is found

It is not always easy to tell if a product contains asbestos as modern asbestos free materials will often look similar. It is usually older products that contain asbestos.

Common uses of asbestos

Insulating board used for fire protection, heat and sound insulation. Can be found in ducts, infill panels, ceiling tiles, wall lining, bath panels and partitions.

Asbestos cement products used for roofing and wall cladding. It was also used for partitions, linings for walls and ceilings, bath panels, soffits, fire surrounds, flue pipes, cold water tanks and roofing tiles. You will often find this type of asbestos in garages and sheds where it was used for roof and wall cladding.

Other building materials used in textured paints and plasters, for example Artex.

Heating appliances and domestic equipment: some warm air heating systems, electric storage heaters and some early coal effect gas fires contain asbestos. It has also been used in domestic equipment such as oven gloves, ironing boards and seals on cooker doors.

What to do if you have asbestos in your home

If the asbestos materials are in good condition, removal is not needed. If removal is done by non-specialists, it can lead to higher levels in the air for some time and could cause more risk to your health.

Take care when carrying out DIY, and don't drill, cut or disturb asbestos containing materials. Don't scrape or sand textured coatings such as Artex.

You should never be in a position where you have to dispose of asbestos. Asbestos waste is a toxic and dangerous waste, which must be disposed of properly. It is against the law to put any asbestos waste in a dustbin. View advice for asbestos disposal

Asbestos surveys

We carry out asbestos surveys of a sample of housing. This is usually done when homes are due to be improved, for example when kitchens and bathrooms are due to be upgraded. This is to make sure that contractors don't disturb any asbestos when they carry out work.

You can also request an asbestos survey by contacting tandamqueries@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.

Information gathered is added to an asbestos register. If you need any information about an asbestos survey that has been done within your home please contact your local housing office.