Asbestos was once viewed as a useful, versatile mineral, due to its insulation abilities, flexible nature, and affordability. It was used in high concentrations worldwide, with Australia one of the highest users of asbestos per capita.
In the 1980s, it was discovered that asbestos exposure resulted in a chronic lung condition called asbestosis, as well as a rare cancer called mesothelioma. Australia has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma deaths in the world, second only to the United Kingdom.
If you suspect that you have asbestos in your home, it should be removed and disposed of as quickly as possible.
Do You Have Asbestos?
If your home was built between 1984 and 1990, it is still likely that it may contain asbestos products, whereas if your home was built after 1990, it is unlikely.
If you have a home that was built before 1990, or may have been built before this point, you need to commission an asbestos house inspection before starting any renovation or maintenance work on your home. This inspection will help you to know where any asbestos in your home is located, as well as its condition and type.
Removal of asbestos products from your home can be done by a professional asbestos removalist, or you can do it yourself if you wish to do so. There are two types of asbestos products, classified as friable and non-friable. Non-friable asbestos is the type most commonly found in homes. Friable asbestos means that the material is in a powder form, or can be crumbled, pulverised, or reduced to a powder when dry.
Both friable and non-friable asbestos pose significant health risks to anyone who comes in contact with them, particularly if the materials are not properly maintained or removed carefully. Friable asbestos poses a more significant risk to health than non-friable asbestos, as it can become easily airborne and be breathed in.
There are two licences that have been established for professionals to remove and dispose of asbestos: Class A and Class B. Class A licences allow the business to remove all types of asbestos, whereas businesses with Class B licences can only remove non-friable asbestos.
Asbestos can be disposed of in a number of ways, and the disposal method depends on whether the product is friable or non-friable. A licensed asbestos waste transporter can supply special plastic-lined skips and bins for the disposal of asbestos. If you are disposing of non-friable asbestos, thoroughly wet the asbestos with water before placing it in the bin. When the bin is full, the plastic liner is pulled over the top of the bin, and sealed. It can then be taken away by a waste transporter, or those in metropolitan areas can dispose of it at transfer stations or waste depots.
If you are disposing of friable asbestos, it must be wrapped in 200-micron thick plastic, sealed, and taped at the seams. This type of plastic can be purchased from hardware stores, and all bags and bins must be marked with "CAUTION ASBESTOS". Asbestos is accepted at landfills if it is in this form.
Removing and disposing of asbestos should be a part of your household maintenance if your house was built before 1990. By using a licenced asbestos removalist like Total Asbestos Services, you can have the asbestos removed to protect your home and your family's health.