In light of the recent news regarding Mr Fluffy and the asbestos scare, I’d like to again provide some information about asbestos and its safety concerns.
It’s estimated that 1 in 3 homes in Australia will have asbestos of some form in it, and in places you wouldn’t expect like behind bathroom tiles, vinyl flooring, carpet underlay and meter boards.
Between 1945-1980 asbestos was widely used in the construction industry mainly because it was versatile and inexpensive. It’s not been used in building materials since the 1980’s but it wasn’t until December 2003 that asbestos and all products containing asbestos were banned throughout Australia. Therefore, it’s thought that if your home was built or renovated before 1990, it’s likely that it will contain some asbestos product, most likely cement sheeting.
You can’t tell if something is asbestos just by looking at it. The only way to be 100% sure is to have it tested, which means having it analysed in a laboratory. Have a look at NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) for an accredited lab in your area. Their website is www.nata.asn.au Or you can use a licensed Asbestos Testing and Removal Specialist, be sure and ask to see their license or contact WorkSafe to verify that they are properly licensed for asbestos removal.
Tips for renovators:
Check on the age of your house, that’s a good indicator.
If unsure, assume there is asbestos in the material.
Undisturbed asbestos products are considered to be safe, it’s when the fibres are released into the air that they pose a health risk. If the material containing asbestos is in good condition, sometimes it’s best to leave it. There might be alternatives like sealing, painting or covering with a non-asbestos product.
Do not disturb! Don’t saw, drill, cut, sand, scrub, scrape, waterblast. Nothing! Leave it alone!
General asbestos issues – contact your local council.
Good site for info: