Early in the 1900s, Australia had its first introduction to asbestos when it was touted as a favoured and cost-efficient building material. Long before, in the 1800s, other locations throughout the world were incorporating asbestos in manufacturing materials regularly, albeit its history traces to the prehistoric era.
The demand in Australia’s industrial and construction sector for unprocessed asbestos grew significantly in the 1930s, with regular imports to keep up with the market. Because it was “readily accessible, fireproof, heat resistant, cheap and could easily meld with materials creating added strength.
The versatility and durability led to the label “miracle material,” with decades of use in Australia until 1980. The most common material was white asbestos or “chrysotile, after which was blue asbestos or “crocidolite” and brown asbestos or “amosite.”
History Of Asbestos Removal
Based on the history of asbestos removal, between the 1940s and 1960s, houses in Australia were built primarily with asbestos tiles or cement sheet roofing due to their malleability and ease of moulding. In the 1950s, house interiors saw asbestos spray coatings on ceilings for decorative texture and on walls.
Also favoured at that time were “lino” floors with chrysotile backing or asbestos vinyl tiles. Australia ultimately became the leader in asbestos consumption worldwide per capita until the regulations started being incorporated in 1978.
Exposure to the material was linked to disease, including cancer with delayed signs and symptoms and no treatment. While it was still in use until the early 2000s, the material was wholly banned in December of 2003 in Australia and NSW, making it illegal to:
The reason for banning asbestos is that no one has been able to figure out a safe level of exposure to the material. The fibres can lead to life-threatening ailments when inhaling them.
It’s challenging to recognize by merely looking at a structure or auto where asbestos has been used in some part. Still, the suggestion is that roughly “90 percent of houses built prior to 1980 contain asbestos.
The ideal method for decreasing risk is to treat what you’re uncertain of as though it is asbestos until a licensed assessor can test it. For positive results, the recommendation is to have the materials removed safely by a licensed removalist. Go here for details on asbestos removal and disposal from a house.
The fear, according to the “Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency,” is the growing popularity of homeowner’s do-it-yourself renovation projects bringing asbestos into the forefront as a continuing problem even today.
While removing anything above 10 sqm without professional guidance is illegal, some are not heeding the warnings.
Having Asbestos Removed
Many Australian homeowners tackle household renovation projects, with many not considering the abundance of asbestos used in house construction. The fibres can be disturbed quite readily with a remodel. The act of drilling a hole in the wall for a picture can release materials containing asbestos.
Before diving into any projects, it’s critical to become aware of the history of the home and the likelihood of asbestos materials. The deaths in Australia due to asbestos-related ailment ranges close to “4,000 annually.”
When performing anything related to electrical or plumbing or remodels that could disturb the material, the recommendation is to leave these to professional tradespeople. Consider the following before trying to renovate or remodel where asbestos could be disturbed.
● When was the material included in building homes
It’s probable that any house construction or remodel before the late 1980s will have a form of asbestos. After 1990, it’s unlikely to have asbestos.
● Removal of asbestos by a homeowner
A homeowner doing renovations, or a remodel doesn’t need a license by law to remove material containing asbestos, albeit it is hazardous due to the risk of exposure.
Experts highly recommended enlisting the services of a licensed removalist like those at https://www.bdssasbestosremoval.com.au to perform the task. The professional has adequate training and the necessary equipment for safe removal.
● Where will asbestos be in a house
Homeowners intending household improvements, demo work, or a remodel for a house built or remodelled before the late 1980s must become familiar with where asbestos could be lurking. On the outside, the material can be found in:
- Old fencing
- Electrical box
Inside the house, you can expect to find it in the following:
- Flooring under tiles or linoleum
Some ways you can remain safe in the presence of asbestos or if trying to remove the material:
- Become familiar with your home’s history. If you encounter material, you’re unsure of, always assume it’s asbestos and have it tested.
- Any material containing asbestos should be left undisturbed when in good condition.
- Those who decide to remove asbestos on their own must follow adequate safety precautions and safe work procedures to reduce health risks and those of everyone in the surrounding area.
- The required gear with removal is disposable PPE that would include coveralls and gloves, along with an approved respirator.
- Asbestos materials should not be drilled into, sanded, sawed, or scraped.
- The fibres can be released if the material is damaged, undergone wear and tear, or is broken. It will need to be replaced in these instances to avoid health risks.
- A licensed removalist must remove friable asbestos; these experts are also recommended for non-friable asbestos found in large amounts. The investment is cost-efficient, with the services benefitting homeowners due to the removalist’s expertise and precautionary techniques.
If a material is suspected of containing asbestos, it should not be disposed of in the rubbish bin nor be set for “hard rubbish collections.”
This is illegal, plus the material causes diseases like cancer when not adequately disposed of. It will put the entire community but the people handling it at significant risk for their health.
When a licensed removalist correctly removes asbestos materials, these experts handle containing the space and disposal of the remnants. As a homeowner, it’s wise to enlist the services of a licensed removalist for the optimum safety of yourself and everyone around you.