The Silent Killer: Asbestos in People’s Homes

This week’s ‘Engineering & Technology’ magazine draws attention to a hidden killer, asbestos in the home. The article, by Ben Heubl, warns that DIY isn’t a harmless activity.

When was asbestos used in British homes?

Asbestos was first used in British homes in about 1870. It was particularly popular from the 1950s to the 1980s, when asbestos insulation board was widely used. It is also found in a wide range of other building materials such as tiles, guttering and drainpipes.  The peak years for using asbestos were 1965 to 1982. Its use gradually declined after that time.

How many homes are affected?

In some parts of the country more than one-third of the homes were built during the period from 1965-82 when asbestos use was at its highest. A survey found that half of the people living in these houses are unaware oof the risk. Experts advise DIYers to assume asbestos is present in their home unless a specialist survey shows it wasn’t used or the house was built in the last 20 years.

Why is asbestos harmful?

Once disturbed by drilling, sawing or hammering, the fibres in asbestos are very hazardous and can cause a number of serious diseases. Fortunately, most people will not suffer any significant ill effects but thousands of new cases are diagnosed every year. An asbestos related disease is always life changing.

Read the article in ‘Engineering & technology’ here.

Photo by Roselyn Tirado on Unsplash