Asbestos Materials were widely used in both commercial and domestic construction projects between the 1950s and the early 1990s. However, asbestos was not banned in Australia until December 30, 2003. Therefore even properties constructed after 1990 may still have asbestos materials present. By this time, an overwhelming amount of evidence indicated that asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACMs) caused major health problems such as asbestosis and lung cancer.
What is asbestos?
The term asbestos refers to a group of fibrous, naturally occurring minerals that are both highly durable and fire resistant. These traits are precisely the reason asbestos containing materials (ACMs) were so popular as construction materials for such a long period of time. However, that same durability is also the reason asbestos poses such a serious health hazard, as these fibrous materials tend to embed themselves in the lungs once inhaled.
The three main types of asbestos are chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite. While studies have shown amosite, and crocidolite asbestos to be generally more harmful, all types have known carcinogenic affects on humans, and exposure should be avoided when possible.
|Crocidolite asbestos fibers
||Chrysotile asbestos fibers
Materials containing asbestos
Because of its wide range of uses and applications, asbestos was used in a considerable amount of different building materials in the 20th century. While not comprehensive, the following list provides the most prominent asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in construction materials:
- Floor and ceiling tiles
- Wall and ceiling insulation
- Piping and ducting insulation
- Spray-on insulation or sealant
- Automobile parts (e.g. brake pads)
Are all ACMs hazardous?
As a general rule, asbestos containing materials (ACMs) do not pose a health risk unless they are disturbed, damaged, or otherwise considered “friable.” Friable asbestos materials are often loose, unsecured items that can be easily damaged or disturbed. Examples of friable asbestos materials include loose wall and ceiling insulation, spray-on asbestos, or torn piping insulation.
Non-friable asbestos materials pose very little health risk unless they are damaged or improperly removed. The asbestos contained in these materials are generally secured by a protective layer or are otherwise constructed as a solid compound that is difficult to damage. Wall and ceiling tiles are perfect examples of safe, non-friable asbestos containing materials (ACMs).
Contact Asbestos Audits International today to have your complex assessed for deadly asbestos and comply with your legal obligations.
- 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
Contact Asbestos Audits International today to have your complex assessed for deadly asbestos and comply with your legal obligations. (click to open contact form)
Safe Work Australia August 2010
World Health Organisation July 2010