Asbestos in the Home: All You Need To Know
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a heat and chemical resistant substance present in rocks. This naturally occurring mineral looks like masses of tensile fibres that can be woven.
Is asbestos dangerous?
When an asbestos-containing material is old or broken, there is a likelihood of fibres being freed into the air. Long-time exposure can bring about harm. When you breathe in these fibres, they lodge in your lungs, and your body’s immune system can’t break them down. Inhaling these fibres, over a number of years, can lead to lung cancer.
Where asbestos lurks
The list of materials comprising asbestos is long. Properties built or renovated during the 60s and 70s top the list. Asbestos could be lurking in:
- Roof, gutters and downpipes
- Floor Tiles
- Partition walls
- Fascia boards
- Panels beneath windows, on fire doors and behind electrical equipment
- Water storage tanks
- Heating and ventilation pipes
- Textured coatings
- Household products like ironing boards and oven gloves
It’s not easy to tell if a product contains asbestos. Even modern materials may have traces of asbestos.
An asbestos management plan outlines the aim and procedures of inspecting and removing asbestos. Asbestos is good for fireproofing and strengthening. So leave it in place if it’s still doing its work and presents no risk to people. Where the asbestos is dangerous, an expert should remove it or enclose it with a safety barrier. All decisions made and processes done must be in line with Asbestos Removal Regulations plus Health and Safety guidelines. Only hire specialist contractors, like Front Line Asbestos Removal Adelaide to carry out all surveys and remedial works. Top of your list should be a company that has been in the industry for years and has undertaken multiple projects.
How to identify asbestos
This is the difficult part. You can’t tell whether or not something contains asbestos by merely looking at it. Asbestos could be dyed, making it hard to be seen. A sample of the product you suspect should be taken to a laboratory for analysis.
What to do if your home has asbestos
Asbestos is prevalent in older homes than it is in new ones. Asbestos in buildings is not a serious problem unless its fibres are made airborne, and one inhales them. When you identify the asbestos material, and it’s in good condition, leave it alone. If the asbestos is in poor condition, removing it or sealing the material is fine. In communal areas, safety is important. Note where the asbestos is and check from time-to-time that it’s still stable. Take immediate measures depending on the risk level.
As a homeowner, you’re responsible for the maintenance and repair of your property, including any asbestos-containing materials. It is your responsibility to keep the material safe and not expose other people.
- Be careful when carrying out DIY removal
- Take precautions to avoid asbestos damage and exposure
- Panic if asbestos is present in your home
- Try to remove products containing asbestos
- Drill, sand or strip products with asbestos
- Sweep, dust or vacuum debris
If you’re a video person, make sure you watch the asbestos removal Adelaide video tips.