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Frequently Asked Questions about Asbestos

Are you wondering exactly what asbestos is and why it was a popular choice for insulation? Do you want to know where it can be found in the house, when it was banned, and what diseases or health conditions it can cause? Express Asbestos Solutions is a leading asbestos testing company staffed by a team of highly knowledgeable experts who can provide answers to these and other frequently asked questions about asbestos. Our aim is to help you feel more informed so you can make better decisions.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a fibrous silicate mineral that has been used for thousands of years for many different purposes, such as insulating walls, strengthening ceramic pots and much more. At the end of the 19th century, the material was mined extensively for its desirable physical properties. Manufacturers and builders around the world used asbestos as a building material for insulation. Since the 1970s, it has been gradually phased out and made illegal due to its adverse effects on human health when inhaled.

Why Was It a Popular Choice?

Asbestos was a popular construction material during the 1900s, especially in Australia which had one of the highest usage rates per capita in the world. Until the toxic nature of it was discovered and disseminated to the public, construction and manufacturing industries chose to use it over other materials for various reasons. For one, it was extremely affordable and accessible. Secondly, it boasted excellent qualities such as thermal efficiency, heat resistance, fire resistance and chemical resistance. In addition, asbestos is known for being durable, strong, malleable and nonconductive.

When Was Asbestos Banned in Australia?

Asbestos was gradually phased out in Australia during the 1980s and finally banned on December 31, 2003. This followed decades of publicity that began with a series of programs produced by the ABC in the late 1970s, which revealed the toxic nature of the material among workers exposed to it and the effects on their health. This increase in awareness precipitated an investigation, after which legislation was implemented to protect workers and asbestos-free alternatives were sought out.

Where Can It Be Found in the House?

According to the Department of Health, approximately one-third of Aussie homes contain some form of asbestos. Houses built prior to 1990 are especially likely to contain such materials, which were used to create products such as roofing sheets, interior and exterior wall cladding, fencing, thermal boards around fireplaces, water or flue pipes, and eaves. Other asbestos products that can be found in your home include loose-fill insulation, textured paints, carpet and vinyl underlay, and brick and plaster sealants. These are especially dangerous as the raw fibres are small and can easily become airborne.

What Health Conditions Does Asbestos Cause?

Asbestos fibres don’t break down easily and, when inhaled, become permanently trapped in the body where they cause cumulative damage. Diseases can take years if not decades to develop, the severity of which depends on the amount and length of exposure. The three main asbestos diseases include:

  • Asbestosis – Long-term inflammation caused by asbestos fibres becoming trapped in the lung membranes, aggravating and scarring lung tissue. Despite being one of the milder asbestos-related diseases, it can still cause complications such as cancer and pulmonary heart disease. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and chest pain.
  • Lung Cancer – When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they become lodged in lung tissues and cause genetic and cellular damage, turning lung cells cancerous. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and coughing up blood. Lung cancer is the largest contributor to asbestos-related deaths in Australia, with the risk compounded by smoking.
  • Mesothelioma – A rare and aggressive form of cancer that develops in the membrane lining of vital organs. Australia has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the world, and people diagnosed have an average life expectancy of only 12 to 21 months.

How Can Asbestos Removalists Help?

Licensed asbestos removalists can safely and efficiently remove asbestos from a property. They can come to your home and conduct a thorough asbestos check in Melbourne, testing products to see if they contain the material. If asbestos is detected, they’ll carry out an asbestos assessment in Melbourne to determine the risks, after which they can remove it from the building. You can rest assured that a professional will then safely dispose of it at an approved hazardous waste transfer station.

Find out More Today

Express Asbestos Solutions is one of the best asbestos removal companies. Our licensed asbestos removalists can answer any questions you have about asbestos and respond to your requests for assistance. Get in touch with us today to find out more and book our asbestos testing service.

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