Asbestos is a natural material that was widely used in the past for building work because of the protection it gave against heat and fire.
When it is left in place it poses little risk, but if it is disturbed and fibres are inhaled, it can cause a variety of diseases such as lung cancer.
The risk of getting these diseases increases depending on how many times and for how long you have been exposed to asbestos. There is often a long period between exposure and illness (15 - 40 years).
Since the dangers of asbestos have been identified, imports have been banned and its use has been reduced, but up until about 1980 asbestos containing materials (ACMs) were still in use. Because of its use in building, it can be disturbed during maintenance, refurbishment and demolition or if there is vandalism.
Typical asbestos containing materials include:
All asbestos waste is classified as hazardous and should be dealt with by a licensed carrier, fly tipping is a criminal offence.