Asbestos that isn’t disturbed does not pose a threat to health. If it is left alone in the fabric of a building, in theory it isn’t going to emit its fibres into the air.
If asbestos becomes damaged or starts to decay, this ‘disturbs’ it, and asbestos dust could become airborne.
This isn’t just a theoretical possibility either. There have been numerous reports of the deaths from asbestos disease of teachers, doctors in hospitals, workmen and residents of older houses and flats.
The TUC and other groups have long been lobbying the government to introduce laws requiring employers to arrange for the safe removal of all asbestos from their buildings and to set a date by which this has to be done.