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UK properties over 15 years old are likely to have been built using asbestos cement.
This could range from garage or shed wall panels and roofs, drainpipes and
insulation board soffits to partitions, infill panels and even the cement around the edges of bath panels.
Commonly used in the construction industry for its strengthening, insulation, fireproofing and noise-reduction capabilities, asbestos has been widely used since the 1940’s in homes and public-use buildings such as schools, libraries and hospitals. The result is that thousands of people of all ages were put at risk from asbestos exposure, through contact with asbestos materials in their homes or workplaces.
Asbestos is the name of a group of similar minerals with separable, long thin fibers that can deteriorate over time, crumbling into a fine dust that can float in the air or circulated via air conditioning systems, and which can be easily inhaled.
The serious health hazards connected to exposure have been well documented, however demolishing buildings containing asbestos, or even removing elements of asbestos-related material, can also be potentially dangerous, unleashing huge quantities of life-threatening asbestos fibres unless the correct precautions are taken.