The import, sale, storage and use of products containing asbestos was banned Australia wide from the 31st of December 2003. This historic action by the Australian government was in response to the discovery of deadly health risks associated with the inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres.
Asbestos products were used in commercial, industrial and residential properties extensively between the 1920s and 1980s across the continent, and has been linked to a range of severe and potentially fatal health conditions, including:
Australia has some of the highest recorded rates of mesothelioma and asbestosis in the world, and there is currently no known cure for either disease.
The amount of information on the health risks and legislative obligations surrounding asbestos is prolific and at times confusing. There are two main classifications for products containing asbestos.
Non-friable asbestos, also called bonded asbestos, includes products where asbestos fibres have been held together with a solid matrix, like cement. While bonded asbestos products, like asbestos cement wall sheeting, are in good condition, there is little risk to handlers wearing basic protective equipment.
This type of asbestos product is only a concern when it becomes degraded, or it is broken, which allows fibres and particles to become airborne.
Asbestos containing materials should not be drilled, sanded, broken, ground or water blasted as these actions cause fibres to be released into the surrounding area and asbestos fibres are so light they can float in the air for hours.
Friable, or brittle asbestos, is more of a health concern due to its structure and high fibre content. Friable asbestos products contain loosely packed fibres that are usually bound together by a product like calcium silicate plaster or impregnated in other materials for insulation, which makes the product light and mailable. This made it a popular product for things like floating ceiling tiles. The product is soft enough to be indented by a fingernail or crushed by hand.
The nature of friable asbestos products makes it easy for harmful asbestos dust and fibres to become airborne and subsequently inhaled or ingested.
It is virtually impossible to identify friable asbestos products without laboratory testing. The team here at AHI Asbestos Consultants can offer NATA accredited sample testing for all suspected asbestos products with an accurate and fast result turnaround.
If you have any questions regarding non-friable and friable asbestos products or require information about what to do if you suspect asbestos containing products or contamination on your property, contact the friendly team here at AHI Asbestos Consultants today.
The asbestos professionals here at AHI Asbestos Consultants have decades of combined experience in asbestos identification, reporting, testing, management and removal.
We offer comprehensive services for all aspects of asbestos control and can advise you on all steps required in addressing asbestos on your commercial, industrial or residential property.
Our wide range of asbestos services include, but are not limited to:
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