Pollution Control - Asbestos

Exposure to asbestos in any of its three common forms (blue, brown or white) can cause potentially fatal lung diseases including asbestosis and lung cancer. People whose work involves disturbing material containing asbestos are now at the greatest risk of exposure, this includes jobs such as plumbers, builders, electricians and central heating engineers. The Health and Safety Commission estimates the current annual UK death toll from asbestos related disease to be around 3,000, which is expected to rise due to historic exposure. Since 1999 the use of new asbestos containing material has been illegal with limited exceptions.

Advice

It is recommended that, if it is undamaged and unlikely to be disturbed, material containing asbestos should be left in place, if necessary sealing it with paint or plastic film. If asbestos is likely to be disturbed or removed because of building alterations then the strict laws governing this work must be complied with.

Cement bonded asbestos, as used in sheeting and guttering, does not present a significant health risk provided it is handled correctly. To reduce the risk to householders who wish to dispose of cement bonded asbestos the following safety measures should be taken;

  • Where possible, sheets should be delivered whole and not broken, cut or sawn.
  • If this is not possible, breaking is the preferred option.
  • Avoid the use of power tools at all times.
  • Damp the asbestos first with water and then double bag or wrap tightly in plastic any small pieces, preventing further release of dust.
  • Wear disposable overalls and respirator (type FF P3).

The Law

Regulation 4 of The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 places a duty on employers to manage the risk from asbestos in non domestic premises. Part of this requirement is to maintain a register of asbestos containing materials. For more information on the law and guidance on working with asbestos then visit the Health and Safety Executive website.

Although these Regulations do not apply to work you perform in your own property, it is recommended that you follow the guidance provided by the Health and Safety Executive on their website. If it is considered that in working with asbestos material you are putting the health of your neighbours at risk then action can be taken by the Council under the Statutory Nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Disposal

All asbestos waste, including cement bonded asbestos sheeting, commonly used for garage and shed roofs, is classed as special waste. When disposed of commercially, asbestos waste has to be taken to a licensed site under a consignment note issued by the Environment Agency.

Hampshire County Council provides special skips at a limited number of their Household Waste Recycling Centres. Householders can take small amounts of asbestos cement waste to these sites at no charge. It is recommended you ring the site before visiting to check that the skip has room. Hampshire County Council advise that you should not bring more than 15 sheets of 120cm by 60cm or equivalent. These sites are listed below:

  • Andover (Shepherd's Spring Lane) Tel 01264 351 421
  • Basingstoke (Wade Road) Tel 01256 461 750
  • Efford (Milford Road, Pennington) Tel 01590 672 891
  • Netley (Grange Road) Tel 023 80 406 182
  • Portsmouth (Port Solent) Tel 023 92 219 819

However, if the householder employs a builder to repair/demolish an asbestos cement structure, the waste will not be accepted at the recycling centre. More information on the Household Waste Recycling Centres.