What is asbestos and why is it a health hazard?
Asbestos is a mineral that is mined from the ground and refined. The fibres possess great durability, have insulating properties, and are fire-resistant. The combination of these elements, along with the ease of availability, made asbestos cement sheeting popular for construction.
These days, while DIY asbestos removal is possible, it is advisable to get professionals instead. It takes more than just asbestos bags to remove the material safely.
Asbestos Removal Perth, Aware, Arca, and 1stchoice are just some of the options available for removing the material from your home.
Here are a few quick facts on asbestos.
The fibres are around 50 to 200 times thinner than a human hair.
The fibres are light enough to float in the air for prolonged periods.
Asbestos fibres are invisible to the naked eye, except when compacted together.
Asbestos fibre can get into the lungs and cause respiratory problems.
Asbestos cannot be identified by the naked eye alone.
In Australia, asbestos cement sheeting and other related materials were common in the building industry between the 40s and 80s. It was only in 1985 that the hazardous nature of asbestos fibres was widely known, and the decline in their use in construction was in the early 90s.
In 2003, the use of asbestos in Australia got banned.
As a health hazard, the most common way to get asbestos fibres in the body is by breathing. Most materials that contain asbestos are of minimal danger unless damaged. Damaging asbestos cement sheeting causes them to release dust and fibres into the air.
Sheeting that is intact is safe and is easier to remove if you know how to remove asbestos.
The fibres are dangerous because when trapped in the membranes of the nose and throat. In some instances, they also damage the lungs or digestive tract. Once trapped in the body, the damage begins and accumulates – it can take ears for asbestos to kill you.
Friable asbestos is the most hazardous. This description applies when the material crumbles in hand, releasing the fibres into the air. Floor tile is not friable.
In general, asbestos bags are unnecessary if the asbestos is intact and undamaged. Ceiling and floor tiles, shingles, fire doors, and siding do not release fibres unless damaged.
However, if you want to remove the risk, you remove the asbestos.
One of the mistakes made by DIY asbestos removal teams is the use if power tools. Power tools cause even the most intact asbestos cement sheets to break apart more readily, releasing fibres into the air. It is best to work cautiously and slowly when removing even intact sheets.
When you suspect asbestos is in your home, call a contractor to get an inspection and testing. It might be a false alarm, or it might be something serious.
A contractor can not only make an inspection, but also provide a preliminary quote to give you an idea of how much it would cost to get professional asbestos removal done.