Hear Asbestos, Think Prevention
What started as National Asbestos Awareness Day in 2005 is now National Asbestos Awareness Week, providing more opportunities to educate the public to the world-wide health problem caused by this toxic substance.
All asbestos- and mesothelioma-related organizations celebrate this week, which typically occurs in the spring and is highlighted by a multi-day International Asbestos Awareness Conference, California. The conference, hosted by the ADAO, brings together a variety of doctors, speakers and survivors to talk about asbestos issues, advancements in treatments for asbestos-related diseases and a number of other topics.
If you are thinking about renovating, you must be aware of asbestos. It is important for home owners and renovators to be aware of how to safely manage asbestos in and around the home.
Most importantly, if you suspect you have asbestos in your home, Don’t cut it! Don’t drill it! Don’t drop it! Don’t sand it! Don’t saw it! Don’t scrape it! Don’t scrub it! Don’t dismantle it! Don’t tip it! Don’t water blast it! Don’t demolish it! And whatever you do… Don’t dump it! Call an accredited company that is trained to deal with the substance from the testing – removal and dumping of the substance.
- You must observe safety precautions when removing or working with asbestos, otherwise you risk exposing yourself and your family to long-term health risks
- There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibers!
- If asbestos is disturbed it can release dangerous fine particles of dust containing asbestos fibers
- Breathing in dust containing asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma
- Mesothelioma is a cancer which most often occurs in the lining of the lung. There is no cure
- The rates of malignant mesothelioma (an incurable cancer) are expected to rise from 2012 to 2020
- The risk of contracting asbestos related diseases increases with the number of fibers inhaled and the length of time that you inhaled asbestos fibers (number of years exposed)
- The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is greatly increased if you smoke
- Symptoms of asbestos dust related diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos
- The average time between exposure and developing mesothelioma is about 45 years
Get to know Asbestos – The 20 Point Asbestos Safety Check
- At least 1 in 3 homes contains asbestos including brick, weatherboard, fibroid and clad homes.
- Asbestos was widely used in building materials before 1987 so if your home was built or renovated before 1987 it most likely contains asbestos.
- If asbestos is disturbed during renovations or maintenance your health and the health of your family could be at risk.
- DIY is not recommended where asbestos is present.
- When renovating or working in and around homes, if in doubt assume asbestos materials are present and take every precaution.
- Dealing with asbestos is important and serious, but it’s not overwhelming – IT IS MANAGEABLE!
- If you’re not sure if asbestos is in your home you can have it inspected by a licensed removalist or a licensed asbestos assessor.
- Products made from asbestos cement include fibro sheeting (flat and corrugated), water, drainage and flue pipes, roofing shingles, guttering and floor and wall coverings. It could be anywhere!
- If you find asbestos in your home; Don’t cut it! Don’t drill it! Don’t drop it! Don’t sand it! Don’t saw it! Don’t scrape it! Don’t scrub it! Don’t dismantle it! Don’t tip it! Don’t water blast it! Don’t demolish it! And whatever you do… Don’t dump it!”
- If left undisturbed asbestos materials in good, stable condition are unlikely to release dangerous fibres and pose a health risk. Generally, you don’t need to remove the asbestos. Paint it and leave it alone but remember to check it occasionally for any signs of wear and tear.
- There are legal requirements regarding asbestos management, its removal and disposal.
- While some might follow the regulations and safety requirements to remove small amounts of asbestos, the safest way to manage its removal is to retain a licensed professional asbestos removalist equipped to protect you and your family from the dangers of asbestos dust and fibers.
- Where asbestos fibres are friable (loose and not bonded into building materials), ONLY licensed friable asbestos removalists are allowed to remove it.
- Professional removal of asbestos is affordable. You can’t afford not to use a professional!
- The cost of asbestos removal by a licensed professional is comparable to most licensed tradesmen including electricians, plumbers and tilers.
- The cost of disposal at a lawful site is often included with the cost of removal by a licensed professional.
- If you must work with any material that may contain asbestos or remove asbestos yourself, protect yourself and your family and follow the legal and safety requirements for the management of asbestos to minimize the release of dust or small particles from the asbestos materials.
- There are a number of safety precautions you will need to take including wearing specific protective clothing, the correct mask or breathing apparatus and ensure you minimize dust and dispose of it legally.
- Never use power tools on asbestos materials as they will make asbestos fibres airborne including: a. Power tools such as electric drills, angle grinders, circular saws and electric sanders. b. Never use high pressure water blasters or compressed air.