What should you do if you have discovered that asbestos containing materials are damaged in your building? As Ireland is still at risk for asbestos materials, knowing how to avoid asbestos dust is perhaps the most important piece of knowledge concerning this scenario. Damage and disturbance can occur in many situations, such as during demolition, maintenance, repair and remodelling. When it does occur, it is best to keep the area in question clear of traffic and keep activities to a minimum, in order to avoid further disturbing the materials and possibly creating airborne fibres.
If asbestos-containing materials are disturbed or damaged, it can release particles into the air. The largest risk comes from someone inhaling these fibres and thus causing potential damage to their health. When asbestos is inhaled, the particles go deep into the lungs and increase the risk of developing lung disease. Furthermore, as the symptoms of asbestos-based lung disease may take many years to develop, it is most often a silent killer.
Most importantly, in this situation, you will want to have the building inspected by an asbestos contractor. Depending on the condition of the asbestos, this will determine the options for safe handling, such as covering the area or removing the materials. Licensed asbestos professionals will inspect your building, take samples for testing and advise you on the next steps. If the determination is that asbestos fibres are present, you will receive a written evaluation and recommendations for handling or removal. For your safety and the safety of all those in the vicinity, it is most important that you have any removal and major repair work done by people trained and qualified in handling asbestos.