If there is a risk of asbestos in your home or place of work, here are some guidelines about how to treat and potentially remove it.
What to do if you have asbestos in your home
- always leave asbestos alone, it's usually safe unless it's damaged or disturbed
- always seek advice before thinking of removing asbestos and follow the basic rules below if carrying out asbestos cement removal work
- do not attempt to remove asbestos lagging, spray coatings or large areas of insulation board by yourself as these materials can only be safely removed by a licensed contractor
- it might be necessary to take a sample of the asbestos to identify the type, but always seek advice before doing so
- paint indoor materials with an alkali resistant paint such as PVA emulsion, and never sand, drill or saw asbestos materials
How to safely remove asbestos cement
- Prepare the work area: remove any unnecessary items, cover the floor and surfaces with disposable polythene sheeting
- Wear protective clothing: disposable overall with hood, disposable paper face mask (for use with asbestos) and rubber or disposable gloves
- Damp down: use a plant sprayer or hosepipe but don't soak the area as this will make cleaning up more difficult
- Remove the asbestos without breaking it up, wrap in polythene sheeting or bags and seal with tape
- Visually inspect the area and clear up any debris by hand: wipe down with disposable damp cloths. Never use a vacuum cleaner as this will just spread dust around
- Pick up polythene sheeting and remove protective clothing and dispose of both as asbestos waste
- Wash hands and face after the job is completed
How to dispose of asbestos cement waste
Householders can take up to six sheets of asbestos cement free of charge to the three transfer stations in Surrey, which are operated by Surrey County Council. These sites are located in:
Please contact the station before you go, to check that there will be enough space in the special container for your asbestos.
It is illegal to dispose of business waste through facilities provided for householders, including household kerbside collection bins, street bins, recycling banks or recycling centres.
Asbestos is a hazardous substance and must be disposed of in landfills designed for hazardous waste.
See the Health and Safety Executive website for the most appropriate methods of dealing with asbestos to fully comply with regulations, ensure maximum safety and protect your organisation from litigation.
Make sure any company you choose is licensed with the Environment Agency to handle and dispose of asbestos waste.
A specialist company must deal with any other form of asbestos. If you intend to transport asbestos cement waste in your own vehicle, you do not need to be a registered carrier provided that it is your own waste. However, you should take the following steps to ensure that asbestos does not contaminate your car:
- Spray sheets of asbestos cement with water
- Double wrap or double bag the asbestos cement with heavy duty polythene
- Ensure the wrapping is secured with tape
- Make sure vehicle occupants do not have access to the asbestos waste
Commercial and industrial hazardous waste
Please contact the Environment Agency by phone, on 03708 506 506 or visit the Environment Agency website for further information.