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I am a council tenant.

 

When I had a new kitchen, bathroom and rewire done a few weeks ago Asbestos was found in the outside gas meter cupboard

and they sent an Asbestos removal company, who did the job properly and sheeted everything up

and removed it wearing special suits and head protection with masks.

 

Yesterday, I had a new central heating system installed by the council in line with the 'decent homes' programme.

 

The old (ancient) boiler was in the kitchen and had a flue which went through the ceiling. The new one is a condensing boiler.

 

After they left yesterday I spent 2 hours, cleaning up the mess, dust everywhere, everything was covered.

 

 

At one point I was on my hands an knees cleaning up the dust by hand under the void in the ceiling where the old boiler was.

They have left it open as the builders are coming next Tuesday to do the repairs which need to be done.

 

When I looked closely I noticed the void in the ceiling was lined with what looked like Asbestos. I could see the fibres floating.

I called the heating engineers and someone arrived within 10 minutes.

 

 

He looked and wasn't sure, so he called the Asbestos people.

He handed the phone to me and the person on the line said 'oh not to worry, it hasn't been disturbed, it probably isn't Asbestos anyway'

Then he said, 'I can't get anyone around this late on a Friday afternoon are you alright to leave it until Monday?' As I had no choice I had to agree.

 

The man who arrived asked me if I would like him to tape it up with a black bin liner, so I said yes.

He then said that when the survey was done prior to the job that it was marked on his report that there was 'no Asbestos found'

I told him that when that survey was done the person asked me if there was any Asbestos in the property,

(how am I supposed to know) so I told him that there was some in the meter cupboard which had been removed,

but I wasn't aware of any inside the house.

 

At this stage I am not sure if it is Asbestos, but working on the logic that it was found in the meter cupboard, chances are that it probably is.

 

I am worried sick about this, I spent so much time cleaning and breathing dust, (which was floating around the house all day).

I know 'stuff happens' but it seems to me that procedures have not been followed.

 

I was talking to my husband who is away right now and he said I should go and get legal advice.

 

 

Is there anyone who can offer me advice on this please?

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Its the wrong kind of logic to use, asbestos used to be put in meter cupboards because the old style meters used to get very hot... if it was asbestos in the celing believe you me the workmen would have stopped work immediately and you would have had no end of people coming round and checking your premises.

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I have worked in places where the existence of asbestos was tested through removing a plug of the material and getting it analysed. You need to wait until this has been confirmed (or not) before taking any action.

 

Asbestos remains in many of our public buildings, including schools. You are obviously aware that it is only an issue when disturbed.

 

I'm not sure if there is an immediate test to see if you have been affected if it does turn out to be asbestos.

 

I know it's easy for me to say, but try not to worry.

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Just a follow up. The material was tested yesterday and I spent several hours on the phone trying to find someone who would give me the result.

Finally, a manager of the council and another from the Asbestos removal company turned up.

It is Brown Asbestos.

They did an air sample which was negative, but I wonder if doing an air sample 4 days after the event is worth while?

They were reassuring and said that it had not been disturbed, also have informed the HSE for permission for the removal in about 14 days.

In the meantime they have covered it with plastic and taped it up.

Can someone advise me please what I should do now? I would like this reported for future reference, or even obtain legal advice?

Edited by hme.4x4

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Certainly report to your council housing dept and their legal department in writing for record of what went on, and see what response you get. Also I pressume if other properties are similar to yours they have asbestos too so they should have it removed also. The LL ( council have a duty of care ) and must take action!

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I'm no medic, but if this was me, I would go to my GP and ask his/her advice. This would also ensure that the asbestos exposure was noted on my medical records. I would probably also take photo's of the area and take up raydetinu's advice, writing to the council's environmental health department so that the incident is on record.

 

Having said this, from what I've read and from you own description, it sounds as if the asbestos has not been disturbed and even then brief exposures are unlikely to result in any future health problems. Even so, it makes sense to cover all bases.

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Thank you for the good advice.

Raydetinu, as you advised I have reported this to the Council. They have immediately responded with a 'reassuring' email and informed me what procedures they have followed. Which of course I already know as I was there at the time.

This though is only shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. I also spoke to the HSE and the have breached the rules by not surveying the job before commencing work.

Sali, I will speak to my doctor too, and I did take photos before it was covered up.

What really bothers me is that all employees have been taken off the site, they are not allowed to undertake any work in my kitchen, but I am living here everyday.

I think this may go on for a while.

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