Three Things you need to know about Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fibre that was popular due to its strength, flexibility, wide usage, and affordability. However once asbestos is worn or broken, fibres can be released into the air. These fibres can be inhaled causing chronic respiratory issues and in some cases death.

 

Here are three things you need to know about asbestos.

 

  1. Its Serious Stuff

 

Asbestos is a known carcinogen, a carcinogen is a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue. When inhaled into the lungs asbestos fibres can cause damage and massive scarring, this can lead to asbestos-related diseases including non-malignant disorders such as asbestosis, diffuse pleural thickening, pleural effusion, rounded atelectasis and malignancies such as lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos related illnesses generally present decades after inhalation and are chronic and incurable. This means that it is vastly important to be aware of asbestos now and make sure that you minimise the risks you take when handling or being exposed to it both for your safety and others. Children are especially at risk as their lungs are still developing and they have a more rapid breathing pattern.

 

  1. It’s Everywhere

 

Before the mid-1980’s to 2003 Asbestos was a commonly used construction product due to its wide variety of uses such as:

  • Insulation
  • Roofing
  • Flooring
  • Adhesive
  • Walling
  • Piping and many more

Australia imported over one million tonnes of asbestos from 1930-1983 and had one of the highest rates of asbestos per person in the world at this time. Asbestos was used commercially, in homes, schools and in water and sewage lines, this was before the ban of brown and blue asbestos in the mid 1980’s and the full ban in 2003. But we are still removing it to this day, Victoria has removed all of its high risk asbestos in schools as of 2016 and plans to remove all of its low risk asbestos from its schools by 2020.

 

  1. Asbestos needs a Professional

 

Though it is not outright illegal across Australia to remove asbestos by yourself there are many rules and regulations that need to be followed to do it safely and dispose of it in environmentally friendly ways, in many states if the asbestos is under a certain amount you can attempt to remove it yourself though it is not advised, Asbestos Removal Gladstone. It is recommended that you check your state’s laws before attempting any removal yourself. Hiring a professional company to have the asbestos tested and removed safely is often the safest and smartest idea, Asbestos Testing Gladstone. Professionals can come to your home or business to take multiple samples of any suspected asbestos and have them tested by a NATA accredited laboratory, the results of these tests can happen within 24 hours however multiple tests 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.

There are multiple options for dealing with asbestos depending on the type, location, condition of the asbestos and your budget some of these include:

  • Removal- The complete removal of the asbestos from the area
  • Encapsulation- Covering the asbestos with a liquid like paint to ensure it remains intact, doesn’t break or become damaged
  • Enclosure- Enclosing the asbestos in a airtight area to stop fibres spreading and becoming inhaled

You can read more about your options for asbestos removal at:

https://www.cpwr.com/sites/default/files/training/asbestos/Chapter%205.pdf

 

Further Reading:

http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Business/Regulations/Health-safety/Asbestos

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

https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/show_page.jsp?id=2974