Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral fibre that was once commonly used nation-wide in Australia in various materials. Asbestos is composed of tiny but hard and strong fibres that are flexible, affordable, and have good insulating properties.
Asbestos fibres are also resistant to heat, fire, electricity, and corrosion. Besides these properties, asbestos also has other effective qualities including strength and durability, chemical resistance and thermal efficiency. It is because of these properties that asbestos was considered to be a very useful mineral.
Asbestos mineral fibres can be used in cloth, paper, cement, plastic, and various other materials to make them stronger. Asbestos cement materials were also the most popular and widely used as building material in the construction of buildings, homes, and architectural structures until the late 1980s. Though commonly used, when asbestos fibres are inhaled or ingested, mineral fibres can permanently be trapped in the body. The resulting health effects from asbestos fibres can easily overshadow its benefits. An asbestos inspection or survey will help identify asbestos that needs to be managed or removed.
Asbestos exposure poses enormous health and safety hazards. Up until the mid-1980s Australia was known to have one of the highest rates of asbestos use per person in the world.
The Australian Government Department of Health has stated that one-third of Australian houses; especially the ones that were built prior to 1990 contain asbestos fibres. So if your house or building was built before 1990, it may have asbestos-containing materials. Owners of such domestic properties and commercial buildings would be best advised to have an asbestos inspection, sampling, and analysis done immediately for their premises.
Asbestos-containing products can be found almost everywhere in our day-to-day life. There are two types –
On the 31st December, 2003 asbestos was officially banned in Australia. It was a nation-wide ban on the use, reuse, selling, buying, manufacturing, and transportation of asbestos or asbestos-containing materials. Hence if you are in the process of leasing or purchasing any property, it is most important to have asbestos inspection of the property.
Asbestos-containing products can be dangerous to human health if they are not properly maintained or handled carefully. Asbestos fibres also pose a health risk when they are airborne and breathed in.
Most people who have frequently breathed in large amounts of asbestos fibres at their place of work or at renovation and construction jobs are prone to develop asbestos-related diseases. People who have not worked with asbestos products amount to a small number of asbestos-related disease cases that occur each year. In these cases, it may be difficult to determine the exact cause of the disease. However unsafe handling of asbestos materials may have definitely contributed to some of these cases.
The Australian Government Department of Health has published an Asbestos Householders Guide which emphasises that there is no absolutely safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres. According to it, as the number of asbestos fibres a person breathes in during their life increases, it determines the increase in risk of developing an asbestos related disease.
The risk of developing asbestos-related diseases from exposure is associated to the length of time since first exposure, the duration and level of exposure and the fibre type.
Family members of exposed workers or those who live close to active asbestos mines can also be at risk. Unknowingly, the renovator or worker can carry asbestos fibres on their tools, boots, clothing, skin or hair.
All forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Asbestos exposure leads to diseases like cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovaries as well as a cancer of the peritoneal linings and pleural known as mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure also causes fibrosis of the lungs, and plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura.
Although the Asbestos Householders Guide provides relevant information to help householders in reducing the risk of exposure. Have an inspection, sampling, analysis and reporting of any asbestos-related products on your premises to assist in reducing the risk of asbestos exposure.
If asbestos identification is required at your property, the asbestos inspection process should be conducted by professional asbestos consulting firm like NCPI.
An asbestos inspection process involves a thorough visual inspection of the affected area and an inventory of suspect material. Bulk sample extraction is then done and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The specific numbers of samples to be taken from each affected area or type of material depends on the various regulations stipulated by the concerned authorities.
An on-site asbestos inspection for smaller residential properties can take as little as a couple of hours. However in the case of larger buildings it can even take multiple days. The asbestos inspector will need full access to every room and area of the building. If necessary, return site visits may also be done. It is therefore critical to have a truly qualified, experienced and independent asbestos inspection firm handling the job.
If you are in need of a professional asbestos inspection and analysis company for domestic and commercial buildings, give us a call today. Contact our testing specialists on 0413 952 683. Our team will answer any queries that you may have and share with you more about the testing process for asbestos. NCPI also provides inspection, sampling, analysis and reporting for meth, mould, silica, bacteria and lead for domestic and commercial buildings. When it comes to ensuring the safety of your family or workers, you can rely on NCPI. We provide prompt and efficient service across all of Australia.