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Asbestos – Am I at danger?

9th June, 2016

As a licensed asbestos remover, Hats for Houses knows the risks and would like to give our potential future, current and past customers a few of the basic facts. There is a brief description on our asbestos removal section of our website, but we feel it is important to really know the details about something as dangerous as this.

What is asbestos?

It is a group of naturally occurring minerals, mined from deep underground.  There are three main types that were used in Australia:

  • Chrysotile (white)
  • Crocidolite (blue)
  • Amosite (brown or grey)

Chrysotile has been the most commonly used, comprising over 50% of all use in Australia. The word asbestos comes from the Greek word “amiantus” which means “indestructible”, a characteristic that led to asbestos being widely used in the construction industry between 1940 and 1980. Before the health risks of using asbestos was known, it was a staple to tradesmen and was used in fibro cement, insulation, fireproofing, pipes, paint, floor coverings, ceiling tiles and roofing materials. Asbestos was so popular because it is in fact an extremely useful and versatile mineral, so at the time using it seemed like a great idea.

What are the dangers?

The fibres are small enough that they can be inhaled so deeply into the lungs that they become embedded and cause a range of slow developing lung diseases such as Benign pleural disease, asbestosis, lung cancer, Pleural plaques and mesothelioma. These diseases develop so slowly, it can take 20 or more years for them to appear after exposure to the asbestos.

Am I at danger?

After being phased out after 1980, it wasn’t until 2003 that importation to Australia was ceased. If your house was built before 1990, it is quite likely that there is some asbestos present in the building. The older the building, the more likely that there are higher percentages present within it. It is a scary thought that your house could be built with a fibre that causes multiple serious lung diseases. However, it is only harming to people if the fibres are breathed in. This would mean that it would have to be broken, deteriorating or disturbed in a way where fibres become airborne. With this said, renovations are a huge risk if your house contains asbestos. Renovations usually include knocking down old walls or parts of a house, which would definitely cause asbestos fibres to become airborne and it appropriate care isn’t taken, breathed in. It is best to be sure what you are dealing with and get a licensed asbestos remover to come test your house for asbestos. That means that if asbestos is identified, you can have it safely removed  by an asbestos removal professional before any exposure takes place. Your house may not contain asbestos but it is definitely better to be safe than sorry!

Asbestos to Go

We hold the importance of our customer’s health close to our hearts and cannot stress enough the importance of safe asbestos removal. Our team of experienced professionals at Hats for Houses are happy to help you out with the testing and safe removal of asbestos.

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