Asbestos – what it is and what to do if your home contains it.
We often meet people who, during a knockdown rebuild, want to save money by undertaking the knock down themselves. However, did you know many houses in Australia still contain high levels of asbestos materials? The health department has identified a third wave of people with asbestos-related health issues – those who undertake DIY renovations.
This blog includes information on how to identify asbestos, what to do if you find it in your home and how to handle knockdowns and renovations.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a material widely used in home construction from the early 1950s to the late 1980s. Exposure to loose asbestos fibres can lead to diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and even lung cancer.
How do I know if my home contains asbestos?
You cannot see or smell asbestos so it is extremely difficult to identify its presence in your home. However, as a general rule:
– If your house was built between the mid-1980s and 1990, it is likely to contain asbestos
– If your house was built after 1990, it is unlikely to contain asbestos
If you are not sure if a part in your house contains asbestos, play it safe and assume it does. To make certain, head to the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) website. It can provide details of an accredited testing centre in your area where you can accurately identify asbestos. Alternatively, a licensed asbestos removalist can also arrange for the testing of suspect material.
Where am I most likely to find asbestos?
Outside the home: Outside the home, asbestos is most commonly found in fences, garden sheds, garages and carports. You may also find it buried within dumped waste materials.