Asbestos is only harmful when it's disturbed, the fine particles becoming airborne where they can enter the respiratory system. Because of this, it can stay in place for many years, only becoming a hazard when building or demolition work involves the destruction of materials containing the dangerous substance.
In the soil, however, it's another matter entirely. The soil is disturbed far more easily, through activities as simple and common as gardening. The problem is, you can't tell there's asbestos in soil just by looking at it. To know for sure, the soil needs to be tested, which can delay your plans unnecessarily if it turns out there's no asbestos present. To help you work out if it's likely, it's best to look into the history of the land:
Look at the nearby industry
Before it was banned, asbestos was quite widely used in the construction, manufacturing and automotive industries. If there are or used to be any buildings in the area related to these industries, there's a chance asbestos was used there. It's not a good idea to assume it was disposed of carefully, particularly if the businesses were around before awareness of the dangers was widespread.
If there's a landfill site nearby, or there once was, there's also a risk that materials containing asbestos were thrown away there, leaving the dangerous substance in the soil. Also check for the presence of disused mines in the area, where asbestos may have either been used or disturbed in the past, spreading it over a wider area.
Consult land records
Sometimes, the only way to determine what buildings existed in the past is to look at old records. Local government is a good way to get hold of them, but even libraries might have records and maps of the area.
Any houses that were demolished up until the end of the 1980s will most likely have contained asbestos, and it's probable that it's still in the soil.
Remember it's a natural material
It's important not to forget that asbestos was not just used in industry. It's found naturally in soil in varying quantities, so it could still be present if there's no historical reason to suspect it.
Researching on the internet or contacting your local government is the best ways to find out if there's a particularly high risk where you live. However, if you're in any doubt, it's always best to get the soil tested professionally, as this is the only way to be sure.
Contact an asbestos soil removal company for more information and assistance.
To be a savvy consumer, you need to understand a little bit about the industry you are engaging with. For example, if you don't know anything about car repairs, you risk getting bad advice. This blog is devoted to teaching readers about construction. There are going to be a few DIY posts, some advice on hiring construction crews, a look at products such as surety bonds for construction projects, and more. There may also be posts on industries related to the construction industry. I hope these posts give you the "tools" you need to be a savvy consumer. Take a look around, and if you like the posts, please share them on social media. Thanks for reading.