Asbestos Awareness Month helps to inform the general public about the risks associated with asbestos and how to safely manage these materials.
With over 3000 building products manufactured with asbestos in Australia, older homes can be riddled with asbestos-containing materials.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate mineral widely distributed in rock deposits and was mined in Australia for use in building products until late 1983.
It is still mined and used in many countries around the world and continues to make it to our shores where it needs to be removed from products prior to use.
Asbestos becomes a risk to human health when the material is disturbed causing fibres to be become airborne. Inhalation of these fibres can result in serious diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer.
Asbestos-related materials are classified as either Friable or Non-Friable
Friable materials are those that can be crushed into a powder using hand pressure. Friable asbestos materials include loose-fill asbestos insulation, millboard products and pipe lagging to name just a few.
These are considered to be a greater health risk to humans and therefore need to be removed by a Class A removalist company such as NAC Services.
Non-Friable materials are bound by a matrix, such as fibre cement sheeting (fibro), vinyl tiles and electrical boards. However, these can also be classified as Friable depending on the condition and glues used.
These products pose a lower risk if managed correctly, however generally occur in larger quantities throughout the home and workplace.
Fibre cement products are the most commonly encountered in the home and can be present in external or internal areas.
"Externally you may find asbestos in the eaves, roof sheeting, gutters, gables and walls to name a few," Murray Lynch, Managing Director of NAC Services, said. "Internally, you will primarily find asbestos-containing fibro in the wet areas such as bathrooms, kitchen and laundry.
"Other common areas to find asbestos around the home are within the electrical box, vinyl flooring products and beneath bathroom and kitchen tiles. The best way to be sure is to have the material tested."
The first question renovators and builders alike ask is how do they manage the asbestos in the house when they knock it down.
"It's a really good question because any asbestos needs to be removed by hand by a licensed removalist and prior to reoccupation a clearance certificate is required which has to be issued by an independent Licensed Consultant," Mr Lynch said. "Once this has occurred demolition works can take place."
NAC Services are licensed to remove all types of asbestos and mould in the home and the workplace.
"We provide demolition and site remediation services to all the major industrial clients within the mining and infrustructure sectors and often there is an asbestos component to these projects as well," Mr Lynch said.
"So if you're thinking of renovating or rebuilding your home or expanding your commercial or industrial site get in touch and we will send a specialised consultant to your site to inspect and provide you with the right information and guidance."
For more information contact NAC Services for a free quote on (02) 4947 1762 or Mobile: 0438 885 498.
National Asbestos Awareness Week 2023 marks 20 years since the use of asbestos was prohibited in Australia.
This year, Hazmat seeks to highlight unexpected finds of asbestos in places where it is not anticipated or the usual suspect.
Hazmat Services Pty Ltd ("Hazmat") is a Newcastle based, locally owned and operated business that specialises in the identification and management of hazardous materials for residential and commercial clients.
Hazmat was established in 2007 and has been providing comprehensive asbestos consulting services for over 16 years regionally, nationally and internationally.
With the current wave of renovation of older houses taking place it is important to know where asbestos can be found in and around your house.
Asbestos products are commonly known to be present in building materials such as wall and ceiling linings, roof sheeting and external cladding for older houses built up until the 1990's.
A brick house that was built prior to 1990 could have asbestos in unsuspecting places, such as under the roof tiles as verge strips or ponding boards, chimney flue's, electrical backing boards and fuses, and behind the tiles in the kitchens and bathrooms.
A particular place to look for unexpected asbestos can be beneath the tiled floor of a bathroom and packing to piers under the house.
Also, if your house is built on a concrete slab, asbestos sheets could have been used as formwork to the concrete slab. This is not usually discovered until the house and slab are demolished.
Some older houses also have old hot water pipes under the house that might be lagged with asbestos rope insulation.
When digging in land where older houses once stood you should be aware that due to some construction and demolition practices in the past, asbestos debris could be buried beneath the surface of the ground.
Naturally Occurring Asbestos ("NOA") rocks have also been found used in garden beds for decoration.
This is usually in areas known to have asbestos rock occurring naturally such as Port Macquarie and the mountains behind Taree, but has also been found in gardens around Newcastle.
Because asbestos can be found in many unsuspecting places it is important that before you undertake renovation or demolition work of any building built before 2004 that a thorough asbestos survey is carried out to locate any unsuspecting asbestos materials by a Licensed Asbestos Assessor.
Hazmat has a Team of qualified Licensed Asbestos Assessors that are experts in the areas of asbestos and hazardous materials management.
"Our Assessors are Licenced by SafeWork NSW and can provide asbestos inspections, risk assessments, sampling, building and property surveys, management plans, asbestos air monitoring, clearances, make safes, emergency call outs and other associated services," a company spokesperson said.
Hazmat operates a National Association of Testing Authorities ("NATA") accredited laboratory at its Carrington Office that provides asbestos air monitoring services with a same-day turnaround time for results.
Engaging a NATA Accredited laboratory to undertake asbestos air monitoring and clearance inspections independent from the asbestos removalist company is crucial to ensure the asbestos removal controls are adequate and the asbestos removal area is safe for re-occupation.
For further information or advise, contact Hazmat on 02 4961 1887.