Residents in Carlisle in the UK have urged housing and council officials to advise residents who have purchased ex-council properties if they have asbestos in their homes. Many of the council properties, built well before the 1980s, contain asbestos, and whilst Carlisle Association removed asbestos from its rented properties last year, those that have purchased their homes from the council or housing association may still have asbestos.

Exposure to airborne asbestos dust and fibers can result in a range of health problems, including the deadly asbestos related cancer known as mesothelioma.

At present there is a public asbestos register relating to public buildings but not to council houses, and one official said this was wrong. He said: “Tenants and people living in former council houses should have a right to know what asbestos might be there and where it is. It’s not good enough to say we need an asbestos register for public buildings and not one for former council houses. There should be detailed inspections and a public register for these properties.”

One elderly woman living on one of these homes said: “People should be told about it. They should write to people who have bought these houses. My son-in-law is a plumber and he spotted cupboards in our upstairs back bedroom with asbestos in them. He was trained and knew what to do with it.”

Another resident, who works as a joiner, said: “I recognised the asbestos in the house because of my job, but they should have said ‘this is asbestos’, because people might start pulling it apart, leaving the dust flying about.”

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