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What does Asbestos look like

Asbestos is a name for six kinds of minerals that mostly used commercially in buildings. The six types are amosite (brown asbestos), chrysotile (white asbestos), tremolite (silicic acid; calcium magnesium salt), actinolite, anthophylite (ferroanthophylite; azbolen asbestos), and crocidolite (blue asbestos).

From all of the types, chrysotile or the white asbestos have mostly been used in the industry for it is believed to have less health effect. Unfortunately, many studies inform that the white asbestos has the same hazardous effect to human body.

Reports of the harmful effects of asbestos fibers concerning human health started growing in the 1970s, nonetheless because of the studies found that continuous inhalation of a number of types of the tiny fibers can result in a lung condition known as asbestosis or in mesothelioma, that is a rapidly fatal kind of lung cancer. As soon as these health risks were firmly documented in the 1970s, many nations began placing tight restrictions on workers’ exposure to asbestos in industrial plants. Crocidolite poses the greatest health effect, whereas exposure to low levels of chrysotile is not quite hazardous.

Within the early 1900s, health-related practitioners began to raise issues that exposure to asbestos was causing deaths of asbestos workers by means of respiratory illnesses and by the 1930s there was a substantial accumulation of scientific information concerning asbestos connected illnesses. Just about everyone in our society has been exposed to some asbestos fibers, but for most folks the exposure plus the danger is quite modest. When asbestos is disturbed, it forms a dust of tiny fibers and this dust can quickly be breathed in. Asbestos fibers can split down, reducing in size until they are quite small to travel deep in to the physique exactly where they pierce the lining of your lungs. The body does not have a mechanism for removing substances from this deep within the lungs and as the asbestos fibers are embedded inside the lining, they are going to stay within the physique for the rest of a person’s life. Asbestos related diseases are brought on by the inhalation or ingestion.

Since asbestos was commonly used in building materials between 1940s and late 1980s, it is recommended for old buildings to be investigated for asbestos containing materials (ACM). As a guide, houses that were built before mid-1980s have more probability to use asbestos containing materials. Those that were made between mid-1980s and 1990 may have asbestos in the house. While houses that were constructed after 1990 are not likely to have asbestos containing materials due to asbestos ban regulation after the following years.

Based on the use in buildings, there are friable and non-friable asbestos. It is very possible to find both types in a building.

Below are areas in a building that considered containing asbestos:

  • The battens covering and moulds for corner are also consist of asbestos fibers
  • Asbestos Cement Siding, Air Conditioner or FAC, Fibrous Asbestos Cement Sheets
  • Asbestos cement siding is used for external and internal walls and ceilings; it might also be discovered inside the typical planked siding. Asbestos containing products-Fibro or asbestos cement sheets at the bottom of a panel. A common incident is for the AC cover batten to separate of fall off when repairing the nail that is too close towards the end of the batten
  • Asbestos vinyl tiling beneath carpet, Asbestos cement wall lining, corrugated asbestos cement roof
  • Asbestos insulation (friable) as lagging to boiler and pipes Sprayed limpet asbestos to steel column ‘Zelemite’ meter board in asbestos fiber cement lined meter box
  • Asbestos fiber cement wall panel to riser Asbestos cement roof vent pipe Asbestos vinyl tiles
  • Asbestos fiber cement infill panel to saw tooth roof Asbestos lagging inside steel lining to pipework Malthoid waterproof roof membrane
  • Asbestos cement sheet walls
  • Backing to tiles
  • Hot water pipes in the wall may use asbestos containing insulation around them
  • Ceilings
  • Vinyl floor tiles/sheets and the back of cushion vinyl flooring
  • Underlay layer of ceramic tiles
  • Insulation in wood heaters/cement layer under wood heater fireplace-bricks and between flue layers
  • Asbestos cement sheeting in walls
  • Inside of cupboards
  • Flat, designed and corrugated wall and roof sheets
  • Man-made tiles/imitation brick cladding
  • Lining under eaves
  • Garden sheds
  • Dog kennels
  • Pools
  • Letter boxes
  • Ponds
  • Electrical meter boards
  • Old ironing board covers
  • Heatproof mats
  • Brake and clutch linings
  • Some adhesive products
  • Hot water pipes insulation set into the walls
  • Asbestos chimney for wood heater
  • Asbestos fibro walls on a house
  • The layer beneath old electrical meter boxes may contain asbestos sheet called Zelemite
  • Insulation made of rope used on a chimney outlet for wood heater
  • ‘Tilux‘Asbestos wet area walling. Commonly used in toilets, bathrooms, and laundries
  • Beware for some lino floor layer coverings and the lower backing that may contain asbestos
  • Underlay of a carpet that may made from old Hessian bags, which were used to carry raw asbestos. So be careful when removing your carpet
  • Some vinyl floor tiles and the adhesive to glue them down may contain asbestos
  • Clad out –building and shed made of asbestos fibro

The list above is not a complete list of all of the places you could possibly obtain asbestos in a buildings, but rather it highlights ‘hotspots’ exactly where asbestos is most likely to be positioned in houses constructed ahead of 1985. Therefore, keep the awareness toward asbestos containing materials.

Though, asbestos containing materials or those suspected for containing asbestos are not recommended to be removed alone. The help from licensed asbestos removalists must be asked to protect your health from undesired diseases caused by asbestos. If you hesitate whether the parts in your building is asbestos free or not, try to send the sample to the lab for sure. The lab result will determine the next action taken.

The best thing to do is by having consultation with authorities on what to do, whom to be contacted and the most important thing is to get a licensed professional help.

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Asbestos use in australia

Back in the past, asbestos was recorded of being used in the embalming process of pharaohs in 2500BC. The danger itself were already known by the Roman historian Pliny, which found that the slaves working on weaving the fibrous mineral got sick and died.

In 1935, the health effect was reported due to the exposure of the fibers to James Hardy’s workers in Western Australia.   Despite the report, Langley Hancock opened a blue asbestos mine in Wittenoom and started making a profit from it in 1940.

The blue asbestos then was prohibited in 1967, while the brown type was still used in the construction industry till the mid-1980s. Its use was also banned in 1989 though some parts were still in use. The total prohibition was commenced in 2003 along with the other type of products containing the dangerous mineral.

Nowadays, there are about one of three houses across Australia, which still contains asbestos containing material (ACM). The impact is the transition of victims exposed to the harmful products. In early time, the sufferers came from those who work in the mining sites and ACM production. In the present time, the victims came from home owners and occupants who are exposed from the contaminated buildings.

The Australian Mesothelioma Registry has reported that 641 cases of asbestos-related death occurred in 2014. The number indicates an increasing possibility, which can reach its peak between 2014 and 2021. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare state that the figures may reach 18,000 cases.

The asbestos-related disease (ARD) cases, especially mesothelioma, has been found largely in new South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, and South Australia. These states are where the former ACM manufacturer James Hardie open his factories.

Asbestos and Eradication Agency indicated that one-third of properties in Australia are still containing ACMs. Those that were built between the mid-1800s and the 1990s have a high possibility to be contaminated by the dangerous substance. While premises built after the 1990s are unlikely to contain the fibrous materials.

The contaminated building products are estimated to reach 3,000 types. Their uses can be found in:

  • Fences
  • Roof, floor, and wall sheeting
  • Water system
  • Electrical installation
  • Heat insulation
  • And many others

The above should be considered as a ‘hotspot’ where ACM can be located. The condition of the ACM can be determined in two basic forms:

  • Friable ACM – a fragile form of ACM. The condition can easily get crumbled just by hand force. This kind of ACM must be handled with extra care as it can release the fibers into the air and contaminate the area.
  • Non-friable ACM (bonded) – ACM in its perfect shape without any damage. The fibers are still bonded to the material. Thus it has less risk of exposure to the surrounding.

However, the assessment and the remediation process must be performed by someone who has the eligibility to identify a building for any contamination.

Clear Asbestos Removal Brisbane is the best answer to any kind of asbestos problems. Whether it’s about identifying, remediating, encapsulating, disposing, testing, or creating a control plan, our endorsed contractors are able to deliver a great result securely and promptly.

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