By the 1980s, the body of knowledge surrounding the hazards of asbestos was well established. During the 20th century, countless people were exposed to raw asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACMs), which led to many debilitating or terminal illnesses such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. As a result, the use for asbestos as construction materials has been banned in Australia since 2003. However, because ACMs are still present in many homes and buildings, the material still poses a public health risk.
Despite the growing public awareness of the hazards of asbestos, the history of asbestos and why it was so popular as a construction material remains somewhat of a mystery. As a naturally occurring mineral, asbestos has many unique properties that make it an ideal building material. It is silky, flexible, lustrous, fireproof, insulating, and rot-resistant. Of course, these traits are also precisely what makes asbestos a health hazard: because it never breaks down, asbestos fibers become lodged in the lungs, leading to an array health disorders.
The history of the Greeks and Romans tells us that asbestos was used as a bonding material for various cements as far back as 3,000 years ago. Even in the asbestos heyday of the 20th century the material was frequently used as a bonding agent in items such as plaster, textured walls, siding, sprayed on fireproofing, concrete, bricks, cement, tiles, drywall, and tar. The high durability of the mineral allows for particularly strong materials and dramatically decreases their flammability.
Its resistance to fire also made asbestos ideal as insulation, and it did an excellent job of keeping hot pipes safe and the interiors of buildings warm. Asbestos was also used for items such as brake pads, brake shoes, cigarette filters, fake snow, stage curtains, fire fighter suits and many other items that required both durability and resistance to flame. As a result, Asbestos Containing Materials are incredibly common in building, ships, and other commercial items built or constructed before 1990.
If your home or non-residential building is at least 30 years old and has not been audited for the presence of asbestos, call Asbestos Audits International (AAI) for a professional asbestos inspection. Professionals will investigate any suspicious material around your home to determine your exposure risk to cancer-causing asbestos. Delay could spell disaster for your health and the health of your coworkers or family; call for a consultation today.
Contact Asbestos Audits International today to assess your complex for deadly asbestos to comply with current Australian Legislation.
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