Mum fears for children’s lives after ‘hidden’ asbestos found in home

A mum has been left fearing for her children’s lives after she was told her home was riddled with ‘hidden’ asbestos.


Susan Steele, 28 from Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire watched as a leaking boiler in the flat above caused her ceiling to come crashing down in 2022.

However, it wasn’t until two years later that she was told by the council that the destroyed roof contained toxic asbestos.


Asbestos found in home


According to reports, workers at the time patched up the damage with chipboard, but 20 months later it was confirmed that the roof tiles contained asbestos.


Single mum of three Susan said:

“I have been worried sick. Since I found out I’ve barely slept, my mind has been racing. I’ve constantly cried.

“I’m terrified that my children have been living with this hidden killer in their home. I’ve looked up what asbestos can do and any exposure can be dangerous further down the line. It’s a ticking time bomb.”

South Lanarkshire Council confirmed that work to repair the roof is now due to take place.

A spokesperson for the local authority said:

“We apologise for the delay in carrying out the ceiling repair and can confirm that, following an inspection, arrangements have been made for several repairs to the property to take place this week.”

Susan claims that council chiefs have tried to reassure her that the asbestos exposure isn’t a risk due to “the ceiling being wet”. But since the ceiling collapsed, she says her three children, aged eight, five and five months have suffered from severe respiratory illnesses.

She told the Daily Record one of her children had to be rushed to A&E due to ‘severe coughing’ and their health is deteriorating every year.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that is present in soil and rocks. It was commonly used in building and construction due to its strong durability such as fire and heat and water resistance.

However, it was later found that inhaling the materials can cause fatal lung diseases and other health conditions and it was banned in the UK among other countries.

What does asbestos look like?

Asbestos fibres in their natural form are long and thin and usually appear as blue, brown or white under a microscope. They will also crumble or powder easily if disturbed. 

However, asbestos fibres are so small, that once they have been disturbed and enter the atmosphere, they will not be visible to the naked eye.

Asbestos was also used in building materials, such as insulation, concrete wall paint and ceilings – making it extremely hard to spot. The best way to identify asbestos is by thinking about the age of a building and if any work was done during this time.

Asbestos was commonly used between the 1950s and 1990s in the UK. If you are concerned that your home was built during this time, or had building work done, such as new loft insulation, you should consult a professional to conduct an asbestos test on your home.


When was asbestos banned?

Asbestos was fully banned in the UK in November 1999. This made it illegal to buy, sell, import or export any asbestos-containing materials. Before the full ban, blue and brown asbestos was banned in 1985, while white asbestos was used until the 1990s.

How to identify asbestos

Asbestos can be hard to identify as it was commonly used within building materials such as wall paint, cement and insulation. However, if you suspect your home contains asbestos, you should consult a professional to conduct a test.

How dangerous is asbestos?

If asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed, it can cause the toxic fibres to be released into the air. This becomes dangerous as the particles can become suspended in the air, and people can inhale them without realising.

The issues occur as the toxic fibres can get stuck in the lungs, and cause damage over time.

Asbestos exposure can cause fatal illnesses such as incurable lung cancers, and mesothelioma. It is also the case that symptoms often don’t occur until decades after the exposure, meaning that is often too late to treat as it is often diagnosed in advanced stages.

There are currently around 2,500 deaths from mesothelioma each year in the UK. This number is expected to drop in the future because asbestos was banned in 1999.

How to get rid of asbestos

Asbestos may be present in any house or building built before the year 2000, as it was widely used in a variety of building materials.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) does not recommend the DIY removal of asbestos without advice. If you find any asbestos which requires removal, you should contact your local council for more information about asbestos and its disposal.


Get in touch today for a no-obligation consultation. Choose one of the methods on this page, or call us on 0141 406 3324 to find out how we can help you with your enquiry.

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