What to Do If You Find Asbestos
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral and can typically be found in rock, sediment or soil. It has strong fibres that are heat resistant and have good insulating properties. You can’t see asbestos fibres with the naked eye and because they are very light, they can be blown long distances by the wind.
Asbestos was once used in Australia in more than 3,000 different products including fibro, flue pipes, drains, roofs, gutters, brakes, clutches and gaskets. Asbestos becomes a health risk when its fibres are released into the air and breathed in. Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
For the eye of the unsuspecting public, asbestos is a miracle material that protects their houses and other materials from easily contracting fire. But, behind these advantages to homeowners, the industrial workers suffer from health hazards that are oftentimes fatal. Asbestos was primarily used to fireproof houses; it was also popular as a roofing. However, during the recent years, many diseases have been related to it and it is apparent that many more will be discovered that can be directly rooted to asbestos. But asbestos, as is, does not really cause the diseases. Instead, the culprit is known to be the asbestos fiber that comes from the damaged asbestos materials. These accumulate through continuous dilapidation of asbestos-based products, say the roofing of your attic. Once there are conditions that led to the damaging of the asbestos, it is likely that the material will release asbestos fiber that can be sent to the air. The danger now comes when a person inhales the asbestos fiber since it will likely stay in the air passages - the lungs, thus leaving fibers that can cause asbestos diseases.
Removing asbestos, unless you’re removing less than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos, you must be licensed to remove asbestos. If you are removing less than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos it is still recommended that you engage a licensed removalist and undertake asbestos awareness training.
Non-friable or bonded asbestos products are solid and you can’t crumble them in your hand—the asbestos has been mixed with a bonding compound such as cement. If non-friable asbestos is damaged or degraded it may become friable and will then pose a higher risk of fibre release.
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