Australia’s relationship with asbestos has been a complicated and hazardous affair. From widespread use in the 20th century to the alarming health crises it later triggered, the ‘miracle mineral’ eventually revealed its true colours. For property owners in Seven Hills, understanding the risks associated with asbestos and how to handle potential exposure is critical.
Asbestos: A Dangerous Legacy in Seven Hills
In Australia, the love affair with asbestos began in the early 20th century when this fire-resistant, cheap, and easily accessible material seemed a godsend for the construction industry. In Seven Hills, like the rest of Australia, numerous homes and buildings erected before the 1980s may still harbour this hidden menace. Our country, unfortunately, has one of the highest per-capita rates of asbestos-related diseases globally.
Here’s the kicker: even though Australia banned all forms of asbestos in 2003, many buildings, especially older ones, can still pose a risk. The issue lies dormant in construction materials like insulation, cement sheets, roofing, and even floor tiles.
So, if you’re living in Seven Hills and your property has been around since the pre-asbestos ban era, it’s high time to keep your eyes peeled for the telltale signs of asbestos presence.
1. Age of the Property
If your house was built or renovated before the mid-1980s, there’s a good chance it contains asbestos. This was the era when asbestos was king of construction materials. It’s a sobering thought, but, “old is gold” doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to property and asbestos.
2. Appearance of Materials
Asbestos was used in a variety of building materials. You might find it in fibro sheeting, water or flue pipes, roofs and gutters, and even window putty. A visual inspection can be the first step, but remember, only a professional can confirm the presence of asbestos.
3. Deterioration of Materials
If you spot damaged building materials, like crumbling drywall, cracked tiles, or frayed pipe insulation, beware! When asbestos-containing materials start to deteriorate, they can release hazardous fibres into the air.
4. Remodeling or Renovation Work
Past remodelling or renovation work could have disturbed asbestos-containing materials. Even seemingly minor tasks like drilling a hole or removing a wall can release asbestos fibres. If you’re planning any DIY, remember this rule of thumb: when in doubt, get it checked out!
5. Health Symptoms
Regular exposure to asbestos can lead to health problems like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. It’s crucial to note that these symptoms often appear decades after exposure, so regular health checks are a must if you suspect asbestos exposure.
Don’t Panic: Here’s How to Proceed
Spotted one or more of these signs? Take a deep breath, and follow these steps.
First things first: don’t disturb the material. Asbestos is most dangerous when it’s airborne. So, if you suspect the presence of asbestos, avoid any actions that might release asbestos fibres. And remember, always wear a P2 rated mask (or higher) if you can’t avoid the area.
Professional Asbestos Inspection
Your next step is to get a professional asbestos inspection. Professionals know how to handle asbestos safely, and they can confirm whether it’s present and the extent of the risk. If you’re scratching your head about who to call, a good starting point would be licensed inspectors listed in the Yellow Pages or through the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.
Removal and Abatement Process
If asbestos is confirmed, you’ll need to engage licensed removalists. They will carry out the removal and disposal process safely and in accordance with local regulations. Asbestos is a nasty business, and it’s one task you definitely want to leave to the pros!
Legal Obligations and Regulations
Property owners in Seven Hills are obliged by law to manage asbestos safely. If you rent out property, you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of your tenants. Stay in the know and keep up-to-date with your legal obligations.
In conclusion, although asbestos is a historical hazard in Seven Hills and Australia as a whole, being aware of the telltale signs and knowing how to proceed safely can make all the difference. So, be proactive, be aware, and stay safe!
Here’s hoping your property stays asbestos-free and your home remains the safe haven it should always be!