What is Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. It contains strong fibres that have excellent durability, fire resistance and insulating properties. Asbestos fibres are 50 to 200 times thinner than a human hair, can float in the air for a long time and can be invisible to the naked eye.
When And Why Is Asbestos Dangerous?
Many products contain asbestos but not all of them are dangerous. A health risk exists when asbestos breaks down into small pieces and fibres are released from the product. Small particles can become lodged in your lungs and the effects may not become evident until anywhere from 15 to 40 years later.
The three most common lung diseases from asbestos are lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Friable Vs Bonded Asbestos
Friable asbestos materials are the ones that are most dangerous to you. Friable asbestos is the type that is easily crumbled or turned into dust which means fibres are easily released into the air and pose significant health risks to anyone nearby. Friable asbestos is most commonly found in commercial and industrial buildings for fire proofing, sound proofing and insulations.
Bonded asbestos is less likely to release fibres as the fibres are tightly bound or locked into place (usually in sheets). Bonded asbestos, however, may turn into friable asbestos if it is damaged or altered.
Asbestos Use In Australia
In the past, asbestos was mined from the ground and manufactured into many different materials which were very commonly used in the Australian residential building industry between the 1940s and late 1980s before their production stopped.
Although asbestos has not been used in domestic building materials since the 1980s, it wasn’t until 31 December 2003 that asbestos and all products that contain asbestos were banned in Australia.
Current Asbestos Situation In Australia
Since 2004, it has been illegal in Australia to import, store, supply, sell, install, use or re-use materials containing asbestos.
Many houses and buildings built before the 1990s are likely to still contain some form of asbestos building product, most commonly asbestos cement sheeting.
How To Identify Asbestos And What To Do About It
Not all building material from the asbestos use period contains asbestos yet it is impossible to detect with the naked eye whether a material contains asbestos.
With such a high potential health risk, however, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
If the material is in good condition, the best thing for you to do is to leave it alone. If, however, your home was built prior to 1985, and you are planning renovations, then you need to find out whether asbestos-containing materials are present before you start. Otherwise, you may expose you and your family to dangerous asbestos inhalation.
If you are not sure whether the material contains asbestos, it’s a good idea to hire a professional asbestos inspector to sample and test the material for you. If asbestos is present, it needs to be removed under strict supervision by a professional, licensed asbestos removal company.
We are fully licensed Class A asbestos removalists. We are experts and specialise in asbestos assessment and removal in Canberra and the surrounding region as well as the NSW Central West, NSW South Coast, NSW Riverina and NSW Central West.
Our qualified, fully trained and highly experienced team will complete your job professionally, in accordance with the ACT's asbestos removal code, as well as ACT WorkSafe and NSW WorkCover guidelines, so that no one is at risk and you have peace of mind.