The thrill of home renovations can become a frightening nightmare if caution is not exercised when handling asbestos containing materials (ACMs). This is especially true for homes that are more than 20-years-old and that may have any of the 3,000 building materials made from asbestos. Research has shown that there has been an increase in the reported cases of mesothelioma linked to home renovation, thus making awareness of the dangers involved the duty of every homeowner.
Asbestos is particularly dangerous when the fibres become airborne. They are microscopic and very resistant—even to the body’s natural defence system. When inhaled, they move around in the lung’s tissues until deadly diseases develop.
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Asbestos was mostly used as insulation, sheeting, and flooring. You cannot detect it just by looking at the products. Laboratory tests by a NATA accredited laboratory are necessary in order to identify the presence of asbestos in some materials. It is best to assume that asbestos exists in your home to be on the safe side. Some of the typical areas in homes that ACMS were used include:
- Hot water and steam pipes
- Resilient Floor Tiles
- Soundproofing or Decorative Material
- Artificial Ashes
- Fibro walls
What Can You Do?
If you believe that you have asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in your home then they need to be identified. Once you have determined the extent of your problem, the appropriate safety, control, and disposal measures must be taken to handle them. Any friable or damaged bonded asbestos should be removed from your home before you continue with any renovations. You should also check to see which renovation license you will need in your state to comply with local regulations.
You will need to contact an asbestos assessor and asbestos removalist to assess and remove asbestos properly. Licensing requirements differ, depending on the type of asbestos at the location. You may also remove samples of suspect ACMs with an asbestos kit to discover which locations in your hone have asbestos. However, all care must be exercised to ensure all procedures are in accordance with Australian regulations.
Don’t take risks!
- Next to the United Kingdom, Australia has the highest rate of asbestos-related cancer deaths in the world.
- According to cancer experts, an additional 25,000 Australians are expected to die over the next four decades from mesothelioma
- In 2007, 551 Australians who registered that year died of mesothelioma. Eighty-four percent of those individuals were men.
- Experts suggest that the number of deaths from mesothelioma will peak somewhere between 2014 and 2021
- Incidence of the disease in New South Wales nearly doubled in the 20 years between 1987 and 2006.
- The rate among females in New South Wales tripled during 1987 and 2006, with many cases attributed to second-hand
- Over the period 1982 to 2006, the total number of new cases of mesothelioma increased from 156 to 649
- From 1997 the number of deaths has increased from 416 to 628 in 2006
- There was a 25% increase in accepted asbestos claims from 2003 to 2008
- Deaths from Asbestosis increased 253% from 1998 to 2008
- About 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos in their workplace
- WHO estimates that 107,00 people die each year from asbestos related lung diseases
Safe Work Australia August 2010
World Health Organisation July 2010
Contact Asbestos Audits International today to have your home assessed for deadly asbestos prior to any renovations. (click to open contact form)