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 wreak havoc on the human body often only presenting decades after inhalation.

 

The Danger of Asbestos

 

Asbestos is a known carcinogen, a carcinogen is a material that is known to produce cancer in living cells in the human body. Unfortunately with asbestos the effects may only present decades after inhalation, there are 6 different types of asbestos:

  • Tremolite Asbestos.
  • Actinolite Asbestos
  • Anthophyllite Asbestos
  • Chrysotile Asbestos (White Asbestos)
  • Amosite Asbestos (Brown or Grey Asbestos)
  • Crocidolite Asbestos (Blue Asbestos)

 

The most common are Chrysotile (White Asbestos), Amosite Asbestos (Brown or grey Asbestos) and Crocidolite Asbestos (Blue Asbestos). The most dangerous of these is Blue Asbestos or Crocidolite Asbestos, when broken blue asbestos forms small brittle, needle like clusters that can easily be inhaled. When inhaled they can damage the lungs causing cuts and abrasions which over time scar. Some asbestos related diseases include (But are not limited to):

  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis
  • Lung Cancer
  • Laryngeal Cancer
  • Pleural plaques
  • Pleural thickening
  • Pleural effusion

All of which are chronic, progressive and incurable.

To learn more about asbestos related illnesses go to  http://www.asbestosdiseases.org.au/asbestos-caused-diseases.html

 

So Where do you find Asbestos?

Unfortunately asbestos can be found in nearly every structure built before the mid-1980’s, asbestos was popular in many different types of construction some of these include:

  • Piping (Water and Sewage)
  • Roofing
  • Insulation
  • Walling
  • Flooring
  • Some adhesives
  • Concreting
  • Dog Kennels
  • Tiling

If the structure was built after 2003 (After the complete ban of asbestos in Australia) then it is unlikely to contain asbestos, however if you still have concerns testing can ensure that no asbestos is within the structure.

 

Moving Forward

 

Unfortunately we cannot go back in time to redo using asbestos so heavily in our infrastructure, but the Australian government and each of its states are taking steps to remove and make safe the asbestos in its homes, businesses, schools and general infrastructure. Victoria has removed all of its high risk asbestos from its schools since 2016 and plans to remove all low risk asbestos by 2020  Queensland has implemented a asbestos awareness program, maintenance condition assessments as well as 3 yearly audits conducted by industry professionals. To find out more about what your state is doing to protect your community from asbestos go to your states government website or contact your local authority.

 

If you are worried about asbestos in your home it is highly recommended to contact a licensed professional to collect samples of the suspected asbestos for testing, they will come to you, collect the samples safely and take them to a NATA accredited laboratory, the results will usually be completed in 24 hours though multiple samples may take longer to process, Asbestos Testing Sydney, after which they will go through your options for removal. When asbestos is removed by licensed professionals, Asbestos removal Sydney, it is a safe and hassle free, they will come to you enclose the area to halt the spread of fibres, remove it safely and then dispose of it in a environmentally friendly manner. It is not recommended to attempt removal yourself as this can pose a public health risk when done incorrectly, it may even be illegal in your state, to find out about your states rules, regulations and laws regarding asbestos search asbestos on your states government website.

 

Further Reading:

http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/ohp-enhealth-asbestos-may2012.htm

http://www.ohsrep.org.au/hazards/asbestos/asbestos-in-the-home/asbestos-useful-websites-and-documents

http://www.asbestos.vic.gov.au/

 

 

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