Archway family in fear after living with asbestos for five months

A family is terrified their health has been jeopardised after discovering they have been living with disturbed asbestos in their home for the past five months.

Chai Suksiri and his partner Ellen O’Neill first became concerned about the potentially dangerous material when they started work to change tiles in the bathroom of their home in Archway last September and the plasterboard behind began to crumble.

The couple called out a council surveyor to inspect the suspect material and he said there was no risk of asbestos, leaving without taking any samples.

Unsatisfied, Mr Suksiri, 29, and Miss O’Neill, 29, who have three children under 10, continued to press for a further inspection and last week – five months on from the initial visit – the surveyor finally took a sample of the plasterboard, which tested positive for asbestos.

Work is now underway to remove the material from the bathroom, where another undisturbed board containing asbestos has been discovered.

But the couple fear they and their children have been exposed to the harmful dust for five months.

Mr Suksiri said: “Suspicion of asbestos should not be taken lightly. If samples had been taken and the procedure undertaken correctly in the first place, then my family and myself would not be in this worrying situation.”

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A council spokesman said there were strict policies governing the management of asbestos and stressed that the trace particle found was considered to be “extremely low risk.”

He said it was “unfortunate” that work was started in the bathroom without notifying the council, as appropriate checks – including those for asbestos – can be carried out before.

“As a precaution the property has been given a local environmental clean, appropriate air testing, and we will carry out further checks as required.

“We appreciate the inconvenience this has caused and are reviewing the way this case was handled,” he added.