Between 1940 and the mid-1980s, Asbestos-containing material (ACM) was widely used in the construction industry. In fact, Asbestos was used in some form or manner in over 3,000 products throughout Australia. For properties built during this timeframe, it’s crucial to obtain an Asbestos audit.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral, mined from the ground and known for its durability. Between the 1940s and 1980s, many of the products used in the Australian building industry contained asbestos due to its fire-resistant and effective insulating qualities.
Asbestos fibres are minuscule, approximately 50 to 200 times thinner than a human hair, and can be invisible to the naked eye. When asbestos or products containing asbestos are disturbed, these fibres are released into the air and can remain airborne for long periods of time.
Why is Asbestos Dangerous?
In the late 1980s, the production of products containing asbestos was halted in Australia due to the major health effects it was found to cause. Since 31 December 2003, the use of asbestos had been banned nationwide.
Common health effects that can arise from asbestos exposure include:
- Asbestosis (scarring of the lung tissue)
- Lung cancer
- Mesothelioma (cancer of the lung and stomach linings) and
- Pleural plaque (patches of thick scar tissue on the lining of the lung)
If you live or work in a building that contains asbestos materials, it is not dangerous so long as the materials are undamaged and undisturbed. It is only when asbestos products are worked with causing the fibres to be released into the air, that serious health risks arise. Each Australian state and territory has its own guidelines for working with these materials. If you’re going to work with asbestos, or need to remove materials containing asbestos, it is best to consult these guidelines before commencing work.
What if my property has Asbestos?
Inspect My Home have professional inspectors who are qualified to carry out asbestos testing and asbestos audits on commercial properties. If you are not sure whether your building contains asbestos, the team at Inspect My Home can assess the property, and, if needed, develop an asbestos management plan.