What is asbestos and how dangerous is it?

Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral that was used a lot in building and renovations from the late 1940s – mid 1980s throughout Australia.

It becomes a health risk when asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. Exposure to asbestos particles is extremely dangerous and can lead to diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

If you are thinking about renovating, you must be aware of asbestos and have a plan on how to safely manage asbestos in and around the home.


How dangerous is it having asbestos in my home?

Asbestos is only an issue if it is broken because this is when the dangerous particles are released into the air. However asbestos is a very pliable and versatile product – which is what made it so popular as a building material. But because of this reason it is easily broken. The safest option is to have asbestos removed as soon as possible by a professional asbestos removal company such as AARCO.


Health problems caused by asbestos fibres

As soon as asbestos is disturbed, fine particles of dust containing asbestos fibres will release into the air. If breathed in, they begin to cause harm, though the effects may not be seen for decades after exposure has occurred – people today are only beginning to see symptoms from exposure to asbestos in the 1980s.

Breathing in dust containing asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory and scarring disease affecting the tissue of the lungs. People with the condition may experience severe shortness of breath and are at an increased risk for certain cancers. Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that most often occurs in the lining of the lung. Lung cancer can be directly caused by asbestos exposure, and some studies have suggested a link between exposure and other types of cancer.

It’s important to know that if you are exposed to asbestos fibres, you can be danger – there is no “safe level” of exposure.


What can I do about it?

The first thing to remember if you have asbestos in your home or fencing is a list of “don’ts”. Don’t cut it, drill into it, sand it, saw it, scrape it, clean it, dismantle it – basically don’t touch it. If anything is done to cause the asbestos fibres to become air-borne, they become and immediate danger to your family.

When you’re ready to get rid of the asbestos, the most important thing to remember is don’t dump it. Not only can you be fined for dumping asbestos, you could inadvertently cause asbestos fibres to break up if the sheeting is dropped or broken when moving it. Asbestos MUST be removed by a licensed asbestos removalist who will safely remove and dispose of the asbestos products.

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