Asbestos was commonly used in household construction and the manufacturing of household materials up until the 1990s. If your house is over 30 years old, it’s likely to have been made with some kind of asbestos containing materials.
Fortunately, if the asbestos materials are left undisturbed and undamaged, the asbestos fibres do not pose a threat. Asbestos fibres are only harmful when they can be inhaled, so the materials need to be friable – meaning loose, crumbly, broken and dusty – for the suspecting products to be dangerous. 1
Step 1. Identify Asbestos
If your house was built before the 1990s, it’s likely it contains asbestos somewhere. It’s not recommended to go looking for any asbestos materials in your house, however, if you have any old building plans or labels from products used, check them for asbestos products. If you think asbestos was used for the construction of your house, it’s best to leave the materials and have them tested by a professional.
Asbestos removalists with GBAR Sydney can take samples of suspected asbestos materials and have them sent to a lab to be tested. The sample testing can be non-invasive and will save you having to go and look for asbestos yourself.
Even if you wanted to look for asbestos in your house, it’s often difficult to spot. Asbestos fibres are so tiny, and often the fibres were bound into other materials to strengthen them.
Step 2. Stay Away from Asbestos
If you suspect there are asbestos materials somewhere in your house, do not touch or disturb them. Asbestos poses serious health risks once it has been disturbed and dust particles form. Once the dust is in the air, it can easily be inhaled. Inhaling asbestos fibres is incredibly dangerous and can cause lung damage, scarring, and cancerous cells to grow. Even if you’re not sure – just stay away from asbestos materials, do not touch, disturb, cut, or break them. The risks are not worth it.
As soon as you are unsure about a material, call an asbestos removalist. Safely clear out the area and keep everyone in the immediate vicinity away from the suspecting materials.
Step 3. Call Asbestos Services
Calling an asbestos removalist will take care of all of your worries. Asbestos removal companies are made up of highly skilled and licensed asbestos specialists. They will be able to assess for asbestos, take samples of suspecting materials, and find the best solution.
An asbestos removalist will be able to handle the asbestos with care, ensure no further areas are contaminated, remove the asbestos, dispose of the asbestos, and clean up the area. Their training and experience means you can relax knowing the job has been thoroughly and safely executed.
Step 4. Notify Council & Neighbours
If you’re renting or buying an older house, make sure to seek documents regarding asbestos presence in the house before signing anything off. In Victoria, landlords and estate agents are legally required to provide asbestos information with potential tenants.
If you’re a tenant, make sure to contact your landlord or estate agent managing the property about the presence of asbestos if you find it in your home. Keep all communication about asbestos in the house in written form, to ensure you are protected. The landlord or owner of the property is in charge of ensuring the asbestos is properly removed and the asbestos removal company is compensated.
Asbestos can be extremely harmful to not only the people living in the house, but also to those living around it. If you’ve found asbestos in your home, you have to inform your neighbours of your findings and let them know you’re having it removed immediately. Asbestos fibres are carried in the form of dust and can easily contaminate other areas with the transfer of dust.
In the case of finding large quantities of asbestos in your home, you can also contact your local council or government and inform them on the presence of asbestos. They are able to provide you with updated advice on how to deal with it and notify anyone in the local area if need be.
Step 5. Have Suspecting Materials Tested
The key to keeping your health and house safe from asbestos is to have all suspected materials tested by an asbestos specialist. Asbestos material samples can easily be taken and sent to a lab to test the house products. Asbestos testing can be simply organised by contacting your local asbestos removal company.