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I would really appreciate your advice, or if you are unable to give it can you please who can give me impartial advice. I own a property which a few weeks ago had a leak. The plumber cut one hole in the ceiling and then a larger one a week later. The building's insurers advised me today that the ceiling tested positive for asbestos. My question is how safe was it for the plumber to do this for his own health. Also, the tenant is pregnant, should I have any concerns about her safety -- a) if she was in the room when the plumber cut the ceiling, or b) now as she is living there. The building's insurers advised me that they have to replace the ceiling rather than patch up the hole as this would put the workmen at risk, but they have not advised me that the tenant has to move out whilst they are removing the ceiling

I am concerned that they are not looking after the tenant's health.

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1 Answer 1

"Asbestos in the ceiling' is rather vague. Are they referring to the ceiling itself? Popcorn texturing? Insulation above the ceiling?

As for the danger level of asbestos, it all depends on if it is airborne or not. In its solid state, it's harmless. It's only when it's friable and turns to dust and you inhale it does it become dangerous. Even then, note that for it to cause cancer and the like, it takes a LOT of exposure and a LOT of time. Most people injured by asbestos were those that worked in asbestos plants and mines. So, while it is dangerous, there is no need to immediately panic when found in your house.

I'm going to assume the asbestos is part of the popcorn texturing. This wasn't uncommon and (AFAIK) the most common place to find asbestos in a lot of homes.

As long as no one touches it, it's fine. If it's painted, even better. Did the plumber expose a bit of the asbestos? Probably. Enough to be of any real danger? I highly doubt it. Enough to cause the insurer or city or code to force you to remove it? I have no clue. That's more of a policy/regulation issue.

If this is a rental, then removing will likely have to follow particular standards, and that usually involves a remediation crew that comes in, fully seals everything off, wets everything down, bags all the materials, vacuums with HEPA filters, and then carts it all off for you. Fairly safe, though potentially expensive.

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thank you that puts my mind at rest a bit, i was concerned that while we were waiting for them to replace the ceiling she was at risk with the open hole in the ceiling. We have agreed she will move out for the ceiling to be replaced. They were not specific about the asbestos but I am going to ask more questions thanks again –  diane Sep 25 '12 at 19:23

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