What are the modern day risks associated with asbestos?

The health risks of asbestos are widely known in Australia. Inhalation of fibres is associated with increased incidences of a number of respiratory diseases including asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural and lung cancers.

Though asbestos is no longer being used in building or manufacturing in Australia, we still need to be aware about the health risks of asbestos that can affect us today.


Health risks facing us today

Small quantities of asbestos fibres are present in the air at all times, and are being breathed by everyone without any ill effects. Most people are exposed to very small amounts of asbestos as they go about their daily lives and do not develop asbestos-related health problems.

There are still many homes and buildings in use in Australia that were built prior to the 1980s, and which therefore are likely to contain asbestos. However, even if you live in an older home, it does not automatically mean you are at risk.

Studies have shown that these products, if in sound condition and left undisturbed, are not a significant health risk. If the asbestos fibres remain firmly bound in cement, generally you do not need to remove the fibro. The health risk occurs when asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in, usually when the asbestos is broken or damaged. This would generally be when renovating and removing the asbestos products, and it is vital that a professional asbestos removal company be contracted to remove asbestos.

However it is also important to be aware that these homes are now up to or more than 40 years old, and as asbestos ages, it can become brittle. So even if the older homes are not being renovated, they can still pose a health risk. Aging asbestos can break, and the fibres released.

The safest option for anyone who is living in or buying an older home is to consult an expert. For an inspection, or to find out more information on asbestos removal from your home, contact AARCO on (08) 6406 2020 or email sales@aarco.com.au