Asbestos Soffits Disaster....advice required.

12 Aug 2020
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United Kingdom
My 1st post hopefully I've done this correctly:

Just had roof, chimney, soffits & fascias done.

1. I informed the NFRC roofing contractor when he did site survey that surveyor said soffits could be Asbestos Cement (house built 1970) - roofer said he'd need to get them tested.

2. Roof work completed 2 weeks ago & scaffolding just come down, soffit guys ripped out soffits without precautions or PPE & without testing, alarmed I queried with roofers - they weren't concerned (soffit guy said deffo Asbestos, roofers said not).

3. Roofers cleared away the boards & most of debris - there is still a small amount left on my two storey L-Shaped Decked balcony & surrounding garden paths.

4. I belatedly sent a sample off (DIY testing kit) - returned as positive for Amosite - test didn't indicate what % or what type of board it is.

5. I was at home with partner & dog whilst work was undertaken - stayed in house as much as possible & kept doors/windows closed - except when making workers drinks.

6. I am now "bricking it" about mine & partners possible exposure to Asbestos - we're both non- smokers - I late 40's her early 50's.

7. I don't want to go down the route of informing HSE/Local Authority as I'm worried about the consequences & don't need the extra stress - I've read stories where HSE have imposed prohibition orders on domestic properties where similar events have occured leaving the owners with a huge decontamination bill (HSE did prosecute but full costs of decontamination weren't recovered).
Also I accept that the roofer may have made a genuine mistake post Covid lockdown & I should have been clearer about my wishes (life has been mad working in NHS recently).

I'm thinking of the following solution:
1. I've booked the hire of a Class H Vacuum cleaner.
2. I've been mask fit tested for FFP3 EN149 disposable mask.
3. Plan to wear Asbestos rated disposable overalls, gloves, wellies & mask & use Class H vac & wet cleaning to thoroughly decontaminate the area.
4. It's also rained significantly since the work was completed.

I've done as much of my own research as possible & have come to the conclusion that mine/partner's exposure will be impossible to quantify & that a single event like this shouldn't increase our risk of contracting Asbestosis/Mesothelioma/Pleural Placs significantly.

I've also spoken to a Dr friend (Consultant - hospital based) who said I'm worrying about nothing.

**I would like some further advice from people on this forum & am keen to know what the community think about, 1) My health risks from this event, 2) Whether my plans for clean-up are reasonable?***

Apologies for the lengthy post I wanted to include as much info as possible.
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I would insist that the roofer/ soffit guys come back and clean up.
To be honest, you're worrying about a tiny risk. You're more likely to be struck by lightning unless they crumbled up the material and threw it in from of a fan. It's not radioactive
Hi Tigercubrider, thank you very much for taking the time to read my post and reply, much appreciated.
I've also spoken to a Dr friend (Consultant - hospital based) who said I'm worrying about nothing.

Your doctor friend is right - if you have been exposed to it, you have been exposed, nothing you can do about it so why worry?

Even if you have been exposed, chances are minuscule that you have been affected. Even those people who spent their lives working in asbestos producing factories all day were not all affected and there is/was nothing could be done about it if they did suffer.

The risk to those you employed to do the work was far higher, but still negligible. Rain will was all contamination into the ground, where it is harmless. If all the possible contamination was outdoors, just hose the area down. Asbestos fibers are only a problem when they are air borne, where you can breath them in. It might though, be worth making a specially good job of vaccing your carpets where you might have dragged fibers in on your footwear.
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Hi Harry, thank you for taking the time to reply to my post, much appreciated. They broke the boards up (to fit into plastic bags) which didn't help, the only visible airborne dust I saw was when two of the roofers swept up and cleared the majority of the debris (leaving some small bits of broken board that was left after scaffolding taken away); we stayed indoors and it rained very heavily all evening and all night. Since I'm hiring a H Class vac I'll follow your advice & will give the house indoors a good going over before I use it outside. Thank you.
The people suffering now (or have already died) from Asbestosis have had long term exposure to the stuff, they're not home owners who have done some renovations and the like.
Thanks to everyone for your replies, it's greatly appreciated. The Asbestos testing company said that the boards were probably AIB as they detected Amosite Asbestos only. I'll admit I should have had a better handle on how the work was being conducted but just let the contractors get on with it. I've been very stressed about it for the past few weeks but everyone I've spoken to and the comments on here have helped me to accept the mistakes that were made, well that's life I suppose, at least I've learnt from the experience and won't make the same mistakes twice if I have any more work done on our 1970's built house! Cheers everyone.

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