Loss of value due to asbestos
Over 90% of asbestos found in property in the
‘Asbestos’ is a trade name given to a range of fibrous mineral silicates, all with varying properties and commercial applications. The differences between the types of fibre are huge. Mineralogists call chrysotile a ‘serpentine’ mineral. It is silky and soft and when breathed in readily dissolves in the acidic environment of the lung, or if swallowed, in the even more acidic environment of the stomach.
The genuinely dangerous blue and brown asbestos types are known as ‘amphiboles’. They do not dissolve in the body. Their fibres are like needles and they stay in the lungs for a lifetime.
Now you would think that a distinction would be made between the dangerous form of asbestos and the not dangerous form of asbestos.
Well oddly enough the Health and Safety Executive have decided not to do so and have lumped them all together in the Control of Asbestos at Work regulations which came into force in 2004.
A few years ago a student in the US won first prize at a science fair for a project that showed how we react to fear spreading and poor science.
What he did was urge people to sign a petition demanding total elimination of the chemical “Di-hydrogen Monoxide” for the following reasons:
It can cause excessive sweating and vomiting
It is a major component in acid rain
It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state
Accidental inhalation can kill you
It contributes to erosion
It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes
It has been found in tumours of terminal cancer patients
He asked 50 people if they supported a total ban of the chemical: 43 said yes. 6 were undecided and one said ‘no’, because the chemical was, in fact, water.
And so it is with white asbestos.
There should be no discount offered for properties containing white asbestos, but such is sometimes not the case.
As regards blue and brown asbestos, a discount should be applied and typically this should be the cost of removal by a licensed contractor, along with an amount for any disruption or upheaval caused to the occupants.