Asbestos in the home

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which has been mined and processed to produce thousands of different products, making it almost impossible to identify by just looking at it, the only sure way of knowing is by having it sampled and analysed.

What are the health hazards?

The physical presence of asbestos does not necessarily create a health risk, the risk arises from breathing microscopic asbestos fibres that are released through damage or mishandling.

Asbestos fibres enter the body through the nose and mouth, they cannot be absorbed through the skin and the body naturally removes any asbestos fibres that you might take in with food and water. Asbestos dust can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and certain types of cancer, for which there is no cure.

All asbestos must therefore be considered to be potentially dangerous, although people who have not worked directly with it are extremely unlikely to develop a related disease. There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos, but there is no doubt that people who work with asbestos materials are at much greater risk than those who have never worked with it. The risk to health in the home environment is therefore slight.

Am I at risk?

Asbestos can only pose a risk to health if the fibres become released or airborne. You are not at risk if asbestos products are undisturbed or undamaged.

In good condition, asbestos is not a health hazard. If items do become damaged or deteriorate, then you and others may be at risk from asbestos fibres in the air. 

DIY activities such as drilling or sanding may disturb and possibly damage products containing asbestos.

Do not put yourself at risk, instead seek advice before carrying out any significant work. If you are not sure contact  Hounslow Housing repairs call centre on 020 8583 2000 or email to

What is Hounslow Housing doing?

Before Hounslow Housing undertake any improvements or major repairs to your home we commission an asbestos survey. The purpose of the survey is to identify if there is any asbestos within your home, and if it represents any risk. We will advise you on the appropriate action we need to take should the survey reveal asbestos is present. When asbestos is found to be damaged or may be disturbed during planned or future works, it will be removed by trained specialised contractors. Should asbestos need to be removed from your home you will be notified accordingly. If asbestos is found to be in good condition and poses no risk it will be left in place.

Please let us know

If you suspect that asbestos containing materials are damaged in your home or you suspect them to have been fly tipped, please contact the repairs call centre centre on 020 8583 2000 or email

Download our asbestos leaflet


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