Family fearful after exposure to asbestos

A family from Islington, London, are terrified that their health has been put at risk after discovering they have been living with disturbed asbestos in their home since November 2012.

Chai Suksiri and his partner Ellen O’Neill originally became concerned about the asbestos material when they started work to change tiles in the bathroom of their home in Archway last September and the plasterboard behind began to crumble.

A local council surveyor was called in by the family to inspect the suspect material and he said there was no risk of asbestos and left without taking any samples.

However, the family, who have three children under 10, were unsatisfied and continued to press for a further inspection. Last week – five months on from the initial visit – the surveyor finally took a sample of the plasterboard, which tested positive for asbestos.

Work is now being carried out to remove the material from the bathroom, where another undisturbed board containing asbestos has been discovered.

But the couple fear they and their children have been exposed to the harmful dust for five months.

Mr Suksiri commented: “Suspicion of asbestos should not be taken lightly. If samples had been taken and the procedure undertaken correct in the first place, then my family and myself would not be in this worrying situation.”

A council spokesman said there were strict policies governing the management of asbestos and stressed that the particles that were found were considered to be “extremely low risk.”

The spokesman said it was unfortunate that work was started in the bathroom without notifying the council, as appropriate checks – including those for asbestos – can be carried out before.

He added: “As a precaution the property has been given a local environmental clean, appropriate air testing, and we will carry out further checks as required.

“We appreciate the inconvenience this has caused and are reviewing the way this case was handled.”

If you are concerned about asbestos in the home, please contact us for advice, sampling or surveys.


(article adapted from Asbestos Insure UK)