Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which was used in building construction and other specialised uses. Its properties of resistance to fire, alkali and acid led to its wide usage till the early 1970s. In recognition of its hazardous properties, the supply and use of asbestos is now banned in the UK; however, asbestos can still be found in industrial or residential buildings built or refurbished before the year 2000.
When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. If inhaled, these fibres can cause serious diseases.
If you are in any doubt as to whether asbestos is present, or if you are working on a product known to contain asbestos, you should leave it alone and seek specialist advice, as follows:
- if you are a home owner, contact a licensed asbestos removal company
- if you are on a works or construction site, contact the Health and Safety Executive
- if you live in social or council housing, contact your landlord or housing provider
- if you rent privately, email the council’s private sector housing team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone 0208 825 6622
- on the public highway (roads or footpaths maintained by the council), telephone Ealing customer services on 0205 825 5000
- on neighbouring premises, email email@example.com or telephone 0208 825 8111.