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Asbestos, First Class Carcinogen

"Do all the old houses contain asbestos?"

"I heard that asbestos is a health hazard."

"Is it a hassle to dispose of asbestos?"

Asbestos is one of the most popular topics among buyers in the housing market.

In this article, you will find answers to all the questions about asbestos.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber. And it is too small to be seen.

Due to its soft texture, asbestos has good insulation to electricity, heat and sound, and resistance to high temperature, acid and alkali, corrosion and abrasion. Besides, it is cheap and easy to use. Therefore, It was commonly used as building material in the past.

Asbestos is mainly used in roofs and walls, especially in between pipes as insulator.

Asbestos would emerge due to weathered roofs, indoor drilling, refurbishing, or wall covering drops caused by leaking pipes.

How would asbestos harm?

Asbestos is a class I carcinogen.

Even the smallest fiber inhaled would highly lead to lung diseases, such as pneumoconiosis (asbestosis) and lung cancer in 20 to 40 years.

It is estimated that the death toll of asbestos-induced lung cancer in Europe reached 500,000 by 2020. And nearly 2,000 people in the Netherlands experienced severe health problems from asbestos every year.

In the last decade, there were evacuations in residential areas due to asbestos exposure across the Netherlands.

The boards of X11 Secondary School in Utrecht, UniC and the International School of Utrecht (ISU) accused the municipality of Utrecht for moving students to classrooms in poor conditions on the excuse of housing shortage. The classrooms have problems such as asbestos dropping, noise, lack of space, etc.

Which houses may contain asbestos?

All houses built between the late 1950s and 1993 used asbestos.

Asbestos was found detrimental to our health in 1970. But there was too much interest involved, and thus asbestos was not banned immediately.

Until mid-1980s, the most harmful loose asbestos material was discontinued, but asbestos is still widely used in roofs.

In 1994, asbestos was finally banned for good.


  1. Properties built before 1994 are likely to have asbestos.

  2. Properties built from 1945 to the mid-1980s have a worse asbestos problem.

  3. There is no asbestos used in the old brick and wood houses before World War II, but it may have an asbestos roof.


If you bought a property built before 1994, you may find asbestos when you remodel the bathroom, kitchen, or replace doors and windows, re-do floors, walls, ceilings, and roof insulation.

Buildings built in the 1960s 1970s, 1980s, and townhouses that have not been overhauled in the past 20 years contain asbestos for sure. Extra attention is needed while removing.

Apartments in good locations have had asbestos removed in the early years, which can be verified with VvE.

Data shows that 60% of rental properties contain asbestos. The ratio might have decreased for the investment boom in the rental market, and the increase of renovated rental properties in recent years.

How to get rid of asbestos?

There are two types of asbestos:

1. Loose-fill insulation

2. Asbestos roof

It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to remove asbestos.

If asbestos loose-fill insulation was found during the interior renovation of a property, then the renovation must stop immediately and the finding of asbestos must be reported to the municipality.

The relevant information can be found with the keyword ‘Asbest’ on the municipal website.

Removal can only be conducted by certified companies(do not remove it yourself! It’s highly risky!). The companies can be found via

In case of stand-alone houses/townhouses, if asbestos is found in the roof, particularly in the storage room in the garden, the demolition work on asbestos has to be arranged immediately.


Asbestos is not allowed in construction waste containers! ! ! The homeowner would be fully responsible if asbestos was found in construction waste. The fines would be up to €10,000.

It is urgent to remove asbestos from roofs on private properties. After nearly 30 years of weathering, the tiny fibers of asbestos are spread everywhere, which would severely affects our health.

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