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If your home or commercial property was built before 1988, and you’re thinking about selling or remodeling, asbestos inspection should be high on your list of priorities. This highly dangerous mineral was used widely in the Australian building industry from the 1940s through the late 1980s, and can pose a very real health risk for those who come into contact with the substance. If you suspect the presence of asbestos on your property, there are things you should know about the risks it can pose, along with the safest methods of removal.
What is Asbestos?
There are two types of asbestos product which were regularly used during new constructions prior to 1988. These include bonded materials used for wall sheeting, particularly in rooms where high moisture levels were to be expected. Asbestos was also used to construct ceiling sheeting, in plaster patching compounds, textured paint and even vinyl floor tiles.
Loose asbestos materials were often used in older insulation, though rarely in residential constructions. These forms of asbestos were much more common in commercial and industrial spaces, though there have been cases of loose asbestos material reported in New South Wales and the ACT.
While asbestos is a mineral which occurs naturally in the earth’s surface, it’s also a highly dangerous. It can be breathed into the lungs, and can lead to a host of serious health complications. Lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other diseases related to asbestos exposure can take as long as fifty years to being presenting outward signs. While there are treatments available to address the symptoms of these conditions, there are currently no known cures for health complications related to asbestos exposure.
Handling Asbestos Removal
Bonded materials, which were often used in both external and interior building, are the most common by far in the residential sector. When left undisturbed and undamaged, they’re not typically considered dangerous. Asbestos fibres are generally considered a health risk only when they’re inhaled, so intact, bonded materials containing asbestos may not be cause for undue concern. If you’re considering a renovation project or your home has sustained damage, however, it’s imperative to make a plan for removal.
Under Australian law, homeowners are allowed to remove asbestos from their own properties. Because this substance can be so dangerous, however, it’s recommended that only licensed and experienced professionals handle asbestos removal. This especially holds true when loosely-bound asbestos is present.
Detecting asbestos can be a challenge for those with limited experience, so you should treat all unknown building materials as if they contain asbestos, taking the necessary precautions to guard your health and the health of those around you. The safest course of action before beginning any renovation project on an older home is to obtain a building inspection from a licensed asbestos contractor. This will confirm the presence of asbestos in the safest manner possible. With the proper precautions and the assistance of licensed, trained professionals, you can protect yourself and those closest to you from asbestos exposure without derailing plans for a home renovation.
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