To answer the question of danger:
The danger of asbestos is the airborne fibers. When they get in the air, they can eventually get into your lungs, where they become lodged and never leave. Over time (long time) and continued exposure, it can eventually turn into cancer.
So, for asbestos to be dangerous, there are a few variables:
- it must be airborne (asbestos embedded in, say, floor tiles, wouldn't be all that dangerous--asbestos fibers wrapped around a pipe would be if the pipe is bumped)
- you must have significant exposure to it (one time exposure via some cut drywall probably will have little to no effect. On the other hand, if you work in an asbestos mine...)
- it has to manifest itself over time. (A 5 year old breathing asbestos fibers has a greater chance of cancer than a 50 year old breathing asbestos simply due to the time factor)
So, yes, it is dangerous, but not quite as bad as most people think. In fact, in the US, many regions now allow homeowners to deal with small amounts of asbestos on their own.
DIY safety tips:
- whenever working with potential asbestos laden items, wet the area as frequently as you can. Wetting the area keeps the dust, and therefore asbestos down.
- Use asbestos rated HEPA face masks.
- Use asbestos rated HEPA filters in your vacuums.
- Tape off the room so you aren't contaminating other spaces.
- Tarp off any material that can collect dust (carpets, for example)
For bigger projects, you absolutely need to look into getting licenses abatement performed.
That covers the basic physical dangers.
On to the economic dangers...
If the drywall does, indeed, contain asbestos, and you now know this, you are legally obligated (at least in the USA) to report this when you go to sell the house. Having a house full of asbestos based sheetrock will make your house unsellable. As such, you likely need to talk to an expert...probably a contractor as well as a lawyer.
You may end up having to walk away from the house as a full-house abatement can be prohibitively expensive. I'd suggest just burning it down to the ground but, well, it's full of asbestos so even that won't work (that's a bit of a joke...don't seriously burn the house down...)
I agree with Keith, though...bring in a home inspector expert first. I can't say I've heard of asbestos being used in sheetrock products, though I'm sure it was at one point. You're also going to want to test other materials...popcorn ceiling finishes, wall insulations, floor tiles, attic insulation, siding, roofing, pipe insulation, etc.