Asbestos in your home? Check out these three risk factors

Approximately one third of all homes built in Australia contain Asbestos products so it’s important to be aware of the risk factors. These include:

1. When your house was built.

Asbestos containing building materials were manufactured in Australia up until at least the mid-1980s, so it is highly likely that your house contains Asbestos if it was constructed prior to that time.

Built before the mid-1980s: Highly likely to have Asbestos containing materials.
Built between the mid-1980s and 1990: Likely to have Asbestos containing materials.
Built after 1990: Unlikely to have Asbestos containing materials.

Asbestos containing building materials were manufactured in Australia up until at least the mid-1980s, so it is highly likely that your house contains Asbestos if it was constructed prior to that time.

2. The repair status of buildings.

The presence of Asbestos containing materials can pose a significant health risk, especially if a building is in a state of disrepair or weathered. Disturbing materials can also be a risk and some of the most common sources of Asbestos in the home or office include:

  • Roof sheeting
  • Guttering
  • Pipes and flues
  • Wall sheeting
  • Vinyl sheet flooring
  • Carpet and tile underlays
  • Imitation brick cladding
  • Fencing
  • Carports and sheds
  • Cement sheeting
  • Insulation
  • Concrete formwork

 

3. The source of the materials.

Asbestos has been banned in Australia since 31 December 2003, but it is still widely used in other countries around the world. It is illegal to import products containing Asbestos into Australia, but unfortunately, building materials laced with the deadly substances are still finding their way onto our shores. This is a threat to the safety of builders and home renovators alike, so it is incredibly important that people using imported, prefabricated building materials are certain of the quality and are aware that some Asbestos-free guarantees are not genuine.

The damage Asbestos can do is profound – Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and other related Dust Diseases have a harrowing effect on both the sufferer and their loved ones.

How to identify Asbestos.

Identify Asbestos using the Enviroscience Asbestos testing kit. Asbestos testing is undertaken using our in-house laboratory services, which are NATA accredited for Asbestos testing and identification using Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) for bulk sample Asbestos analysis or Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) for air samples. The Enviroscience Asbestos test kit which instructs you on the correct and safe way to take a sample of the suspect material and offers a free postage testing service that is NATA accredited. Download the Asbestos test kit here.

Juliet Duffy holds a Master of Sustainable Management from Sydney University, is a Licensed Asbestos Assessor and has been managing environmental health issues since 1988. Juliet is Director of Regional Enviroscience – an NATA Accredited Asbestos & hazardous materials laboratory and occupational health consultancy based in regional NSW – Hunter Valley, Central NSW and the Riverina.