Asbestos became popular among builders in the late 19th century. Its resistant properties made it a strong candidate for use in the construction of buildings. In the modern era, however, the dangers that come with using asbestos has been made evident. It is now common practice to not install asbestos but to provide removal services for it. In fact, the use and manufacturing of asbestos in Australia has been outright banned.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is an extremely tough and durable mineral abundant in rock and found in many parts of the world. It had been widely used in products because of its high resistance to fire and chemicals and because it acts as a good insulator. Asbestos was often used in cement, Tilux and Duraflex sheets (bathrooms and kitchens), cement corrugated roof sheeting, cement guttering, insulation, brake pads and linings.
Is Asbestos Bad?
Asbestos is a very toxic material that has been known to cause diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. It becomes dangerous when it is “friable” (easily crumbled in hand), as the fibres it releases into the air cannot be broken down by the human body. Therefore, upon inhalation of these fibres, they will remain within your body and not decompose, leading to the health issues mentioned.
There is no acceptable level of asbestos exposure, but exposure to intense concentrations of asbestos or exposure to it regularly over a long period produces the worst effects. It accumulates within the body from every exposure and there is no known way to reverse the damage once it has entered your system. Asbestos exposure has caused thousands of Australian deaths over the years.
How to Identify Asbestos
Unfortunately for a homeowner, it is near-impossible to identify if something is 100% asbestos. To determine whether something is asbestos or not, you will need to contact an asbestos surveyor. They will come to your property, take a sample of the product, and return it to a lab for testing. If it comes back positive, you should hire an asbestos removal specialist straight away.
When should I consult an asbestos surveyor?
If you suspect that something in your property contains asbestos, you should contact an asbestos surveyor. If you don’t have any suspicions but would like to know if your house could contain asbestos products, there are a few things you can do.
Finding out when your house was built and what construction materials were used would give you a good idea of whether or not asbestos was used in your home. If your house contains popcorn ceilings or eaves, you should consult an asbestos surveyor, as these particular structures are the most common structures to contain asbestos. Do not try to smell structures or cut into them as you may inhale toxic fibres if they are asbestos.
What Should I Do if I Have Asbestos?
After consulting an asbestos surveyor, if the results come back positive, you should hire an asbestos removal service provider as soon as possible. The materials may be solid now but there is no guarantee they will remain so in the future. Do not attempt to remove the materials yourself. Asbestos removal should be left to experienced professionals who know what they are doing.