Beware of asbestos before renovating your home
November (1-30) is National Asbestos Awareness Month which aims to educate Australians about the dangers of asbestos in and around homes.
Simply living or working in a building that contains asbestos is not dangerous, provided the asbestos is not broken or damaged. It is when the asbestos is disturbed, and fibres are released that the risk of exposure arises.
Why Can Asbestos Dust or Fibres be Dangerous to Your Health?
- You must observe safety precautions when removing or working with asbestos, otherwise you risk exposing yourself and your family to long-term health risks
- There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres!
- If asbestos is disturbed it can release dangerous fine particles of dust containing asbestos fibres
- Breathing in dust containing asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma
- Mesothelioma is a cancer which most often occurs in the lining of the lung. There is no cure
- The rates of malignant mesothelioma (an incurable cancer) are expected to rise from 2012 to 2020
- The risk of contracting asbestos related diseases increases with the number of fibres inhaled and the length of time that you inhaled asbestos fibres (number of years exposed)
- The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibres is greatly increased if you smoke
- Symptoms of asbestos dust related diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos
- The average time between exposure and developing mesothelioma is about 45 years
Before renovating or buying a house, therefore, we recommend you arrange a building inspection to identify whether asbestos-containing products are present and if so, what action needs to be taken. There are several places where asbestos can be found, including under floor coverings such as carpets and linoleum, behind floor and wall tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings, eaves, garages and fences, to name a few.
At SPI, we have qualified inspectors who can safely remove up to 10 square metres of asbestos in a non-friable form for testing purposes. It is essential that those removing asbestos understand the nature of the hazard and the strict procedures that need to be followed.
Click here to read our article, “What’s All The Noise About Asbestos?” to provide some basic information about asbestos. And if you have any doubts or concerns about asbestos, please call us today on 1300 721 032 to arrange an inspection.
For more information about National Asbestos Awareness Month, click here.