Asbestos consists of very small fibres and it was used in the past because it is cheap, strong, hard-wearing and resistant to alkalines, acids and high temperatures. From 1945 to the 1980s, asbestos was used a great deal in buildings and residences. The use and sale of asbestos has been banned since 1 July 1993.
Types of asbestos
Asbestos does not have to be dangerous. There are several types of asbestos: firmly bound asbestos and loosely bound asbestos. In firmly bound asbestos, the fibres are firmly processed within the material. If the material is in good condition, the fibres will not become loose. In loosely bound asbestos, the fibres are less attached or not attached to the material (this depends on the asbestos type). This means that the health risks are greater.
Loose asbestos fibres can cause lung cancer and intestinal cancer in people who have inhaled these fibres. You can only inhale these fibres if they have become loose. In the case of firmly bound asbestos, the risk is much smaller than in the case of loosely bound asbestos. If you drill into, saw into or sand asbestos or damage the asbestos, these fibres will become loose. Strict rules have been drawn up in order to prevent this.
The incorrect removal of asbestos is often more dangerous than leaving it in position. Strict regulations therefore apply for the removal of asbestos. Firmly bound asbestos does not need to be removed because it does not pose a health risk. If we find loosely bound asbestos in our buildings, we do remove this. Dutch law prescribes that the lessor has to take steps to plan the removal of the asbestos.
Asbestos in SSH residences
Since 1983, the dangerous loosely bound asbestos has no longer been used. The use of strongly bound asbestos also decreased considerably from that time. Since the use of asbestos in building work was only banned in 1993, asbestos can occur in all SSH residences which were built before 1994.
Do you wish to know whether asbestos is present in your residence? You will find this on the information page of an accommodation. If you have any more questions, you can call the SSH on (088) 730 42 00.