Reasons It’s Time To Break Up With Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fibre that was well used before the mid-1980’s  due to its strength, flexibility, insulation ability, and affordability. However once asbestos is worn or damaged, fibres can be released into the air. These fibres can be inhaled causing chronic respiratory issues and in some cases death. Some of the diseases related to asbestos inhalation include lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, these diseases can appear decades after the original inhalation of the asbestos.

 

Types of Asbestos

There are six different types of asbestos, these include:

  • Chrysotile
  • Amosite
  • Crocidolite
  • Anthophyllite
  • Tremolite
  • Actinolite

The most common three being:

  • Chrysotile (white asbestos)
  • Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
  • Amosite (brown or grey asbestos)

The most dangerous type of asbestos is crocidolite, once broken crocidolite asbestos releases clusters of brittle needle like fibres that can easily be inhaled and cause scarring in the lungs leading to asbestosis and mesothelioma.

After being sorted into their types asbestos can then be placed into two categories, friable and non-friable.

Friable asbestos can easily be broken and crushed by hand and become airborne whereas non-friable asbestos is sturder and only becomes a risk once damaged or broken.

This is why it is crucial to know how to handle asbestos.

 

Diseases related to Asbestos Inhalation

Asbestos related illnesses can strike decades after inhalation which is why it is important to know the symptoms and possible diseases you could develop from the inhalation.

Some symptoms of asbestos related diseases include:

  • Persistent dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fingertips and Toes that appear wider and rounder then normal (Clubbing)
  • Chest pain
  • Chest tightness

Diseases related to asbestos inhalation:

  • Asbestosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Laryngeal Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Testes Cancer
  • Pleural plaques
  • Pleural thickening

If you or anyone you know is experiencing one or more of the above listed symptoms or you have been exposed to asbestos it is recommended to get regular testing to ensure good health. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns relating to asbestos related diseases.

 

Where can Asbestos be Found?

Asbestos was used in most homes, schools and businesses before the mid-1980’s, if the structure was built before this time there is a high likelihood that it contains asbestos. The most common areas asbestos can be found in are (but are not limited to):

  • Roofs
  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Tiles
  • Cement
  • Pipes
  • Dog Kennels
  • Insulation

If you want to know more about where asbestos can be found go to https://asbestosawareness.com.au/asbestos-in-the-home/where-is-it-found/

 

What to do if you suspect there is Asbestos in your home

If you suspect there could be asbestos in your home the best thing to do is get it professionally tested. Asbestos professionals can come to your home and take multiple samples of any suspected asbestos, Asbestos Testing, and take it to a NATA accredited laboratory where it will be tested, this can take as little as 24 hours although multiple samples may take more time to ensure proper testing. Once testing is complete if asbestos is found they can then walk you though the best options to make it safe or remove it from your home. The most common form of dealing with asbestos is removal through other methods can be applied. A professional will come to your home and walk you through the process to ensure that your family is safe and knows what’s going on, Asbestos Removal, they will then safely remove the asbestos and dispose of it following your states rules and regulations.

 

Further Reading:

https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/50/~/asbestos

https://www.act.gov.au/

http://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/information.htm

 

Our Kids and Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fibre that was popular in building and construction due to its strength, flexibility, wide usage, lightweight, affordability and waterproof nature. However once asbestos is worn or broken, fibres can be released into the air. These fibres can be inhaled causing chronic respiratory issues like lung cancer and in some cases these lead to a premature death. So when dealing with asbestos great care needs to be taken to ensure the safety of all those involved and the health of the general public.

 

So where can our kids be exposed to asbestos?

Our kids can be exposed to asbestos in many places, some of these include your own home and their school. Buildings erected before the 1980’s have a large chance in containing asbestos as it was only fully banned within Australia in 2003 with bans starting to take place in the mid-1980’s. Asbestos was commonly used in flooring, ceilings and walls as well as many other places. Breathing in asbestos can create respiratory issues decades after inhalation so it is important to know if your home or school contains it, where it is located and the condition that it is in. The best way to know if you have asbestos in your home is get your home professionally tested, Asbestos Testing Melbourne, call an asbestos professional and they will come to your property to collect a sample which they will take to an NATA accredited laboratory, after they have tested the potential asbestos they will return the results directly to you. This can happen within 24 hours however multiple samples may take longer to ensure accurate results. Utilizing a professional will also help keep yourself and others safe as they will inform you of any risks of contamination or health risks.

 

The Australia has put into place laws and guidelines regarding asbestos in schools such as the AHERA-Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act which requires schools to inspect the whole school grounds for asbestos by professionally licensed companies, then have a re-inspection every 3 years, the information from these reports must be maintained and available for the use of parents, teachers, and other members of the community. So the very best way to know if there is asbestos in your child’s school is to request to view the schools AHERA report form, however it is also important to remember that asbestos can be put into two categories ‘low risk and ‘high risk’, high risk asbestos can easily be inhaled and low risk asbestos is in good condition and does not yet pose a threat to student or staff health,  some schools may have asbestos in them but have had it professionally declared safe.

Precautions

The best precautions to put into place to protect your child is to do your research, contact professionals like Asbestos Removal Melbourne if you have any queries and to keep up to date with your schools AHERA reports. Unfortunately asbestos is still a large part of our construction world but many states are in the process of making the current asbestos safe or removing it in a environmentally friendly way. Victoria has removed all of its high risk asbestos from its schools since 2016 and aims to removed all low risk asbestos by 2020, this is just one of the steps the Australian government is taking to ensure safer schooling for our children and maintain the  health of the general public.

 

Further Reading:

 

https://www.ombo.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/43647/Asbestos-How-NSW-govt-agencies-deal-with-the-problem-April2017.pdf

https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/asbestos-frequently-asked-questions

https://www.mba.org.au/consumer-advice/the-guide/asbestos/

https://www.wyong.nsw.gov.au/my-property/waste-and-recycling/asbestos

 

 

Where can you Find Asbestos in your Property?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral substance used across the world as not just a building material but used by many different industries for its resistance to heat, chemicals, and electricity as well as being a strong and flexible material. There are six commonly used types of Asbestos to watch out for. These include: Chrysotile (White), Amosite (Brown), Crocidolite (Blue), Tremolite, Actinolite, and Anthophyllite.

These six types of Asbestos can then be sorted into two categories: Friable, and non-friable. Friable Asbestos is easily crumbled and broken making it very easy to become airborne to be inhaled. Non-Friable Asbestos only becomes a hazard when it is broken, or damaged as the fibres are more tightly bound. However, it is important to note that should fire, hail, or water damage non-friable asbestos, it can then become friable and must be managed and removed accordingly by a accredited professional to ensure the health and safety of the public.

Whilst it was once considered the perfect building material, unfortunately recent research has revealed that exposure to Asbestos fibres can be detrimental or even fatal, potentially causing diseases such as Asbestosis, Lung Cancer, Mesothelioma, and other Cancers when inhaled. All asbestos was banned within Australia in 2003, before this Australia had the most asbestos per person in the world and from 1930-1983 over one million tonnes of asbestos was imported to the country.

 

So where can I find Asbestos?

Asbestos can be found in the following places and more;

  • Roofing
  • Gutters
  • Gables
  • Eaves
  • Walls
  • Vinyl
  • Carpets
  • Tiles
  • Underlay
  • Lining behind wall tiles
  • Imitation brick cladding
  • Fencing
  • Sheds
  • Splashbacks
  • Telecommunication pits
  • Window putty
  • Expansion joints
  • Insulation
  • concrete formwork

However, if the home was built or renovated before 1990, there may be some other products used that were made from asbestos bonded cement.

These can include:

  • Fibro sheeting
  • Water drainage
  • Flue pipes
  • Roofing shingles
  • Guttering
  • Backing of floor coverings

The health risk from asbestos cement products is very low however any kind of health risk from asbestos poisoning should be taken seriously.

If you are planning on making renovations of DIY projects that may damage something containing asbestos, make sure to carefully follow the advice in Asbestos: a guide for householders and general public which provides information to householders on how to safely and sensibly manage any problems that may arise from encounters with materials such as asbestos. However, it is always advised that a licensed professional be involved as not everything may be as it seems as far as asbestos is concerned.

 

Solutions.

Getting suspected asbestos tested is surprisingly simple, Asbestos Testing, a professional can come to you, take samples of the suspected asbestos to take back to an NATA accredited laboratory to be tested. This can take as little as 24 hours, multiple samples may take longer to read accurate results. From there, a professional removal company, Asbestos Removal, can run through your options for removal or encapsulation following your states necessary safety and legal rules.

It is not recommended for you to try to dispose of the asbestos yourself as inhalation of the contaminant could be fatal and cause incurable respiratory problems.  Non-compliance with required procedures for disposal of asbestos, inappropriate packaging of waste, and failure to unload as per requirements are all offenses and you can be fined heavily if caught. To avoid this, seek professional advice and hire a reputable and accredited contractor.

Further Reading: