Where Can You Normally Find Asbestos in Australia

Although asbestos has already been banned in Australia for almost twenty years now, it doesn’t mean that we are already free of this toxic material.

For many decades, asbestos was mined, manufactured, and widely used in construction and other industries in the country. So as much as we hate to say it, asbestos might be here to stay. Or at least, for a while yet.

Who knows, there still might be some old asbestos-containing materials rotting in your house or workplace, you’re not just aware of it.

And if there’s a thing or two that we know about asbestos, it’s that not knowing whether your house or office has asbestos in it may cost you several important years of your life.

That’s why in this piece, we’re going to show you the places where you might normally find asbestos and how you can effectively lessen your risks of getting exposed.

Read on and save yourself from all the risks and hazards of asbestos exposure.

Can asbestos be found in nature?

Yes. Technically, asbestos is the term used for the group of six naturally occurring minerals that are made up of heat-resistant fibres. These minerals are mined and processed into asbestos products that are used mainly for insulation or fireproofing in several industries.

Believe it or not, asbestos was once mined in Australia, specifically in Wittenoom and other asbestos-rich lands. Fortunately, mining, manufacturing and distribution of asbestos products were banned in Australia in December of 2003.

Unfortunately, asbestos is still mined in other countries like China and Russia and is still widely used in the US.

Read here for more asbestos facts.

Where is asbestos found most?

If we’re talking asbestos as the product, it’s mostly found in places and items that need fireproofing and insulation. Here in Australia, you will find it mostly in old houses, public buildings like schools, and commercial workspaces.

If a structure was built before the total ban of the material, whether it’s residential, commercial, or industrial, there’s a good chance that these properties may still have asbestos-containing materials in them.

To be more specific, below are only some of the items or places where you would normally find asbestos or ACMs.

3 Places Where Asbestos is Normally Found

While no one can identify asbestos correctly just by looking at it, it’s always better to know where asbestos-containing materials might be. This way you can take necessary precautions to avoid asbestos exposure.

 

Asbestos in old houses (and commercial buildings)

Since asbestos was banned in Australia in December 2003, it’s only safe to assume that everything that was built before that time may contain asbestos.

So, if you’re currently living in an old house or working in a workplace that was built before the ban, it’s highly likely that you are surrounded by ACMs and you need to be very careful.

Asbestos fibres might be lurking in your house, particularly in these materials:

  • Roof felt and shingles
  • Window putty
  • Cement Asbestos Board
  • Insulation
  • Vinyl Floor Tiles
  • Popcorn ceilings
  • Textured Paint
  • Fireplaces
  • Boilers
  • Heating & piping

If you have these kinds of products installed in your home, and you’re thinking of renovating a room of the entire house anytime soon, you might want to drop the idea in the meantime.

What you should do first is to have your house inspected for asbestos, then hire professional asbestos removalists to extract the ACMs from your house.

This way, you won’t disturb any of the asbestos materials in your property during the renovation, which could lead to asbestos exposure and, therefore, asbestos diseases.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to buy an old property or rent an old flat, be sure to ask the owner or landlord first about the asbestos presence in the house. 

While it’s not ideal to buy a house with asbestos, sometimes you are left with no choice. The best thing you can do is to have it inspected by professionals as well. This way you’ll know how you can manage your risks and protect the whole family.

Asbestos in home appliances

Asbestos is no doubt a great insulating product. It’s no wonder why back in the day, it was used in a lot of gas and electrical appliances because it acts as a heat shield and insulation.

While asbestos can be very dangerous, it doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of your appliances right away.

These appliances can only cause you trouble if you start disassembling, chopping, grinding, or sawing them. If they’re still working perfectly fine, the best thing you can do is to just let them be.

But if you want to be sure, you can get rid of these old appliances that may have asbestos in them:

  • Clothes dryers
  • Wood stoves
  • Range hoods
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Dishwashers
  • Toasters
  • Slow cookers
  • Heaters
  • Hair dryers
  • Coffee pots
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Washing machines

Aside from these appliances, asbestos can also be found in other electrical equipment in your house like:

  • Recessed lighting
  • Fuse box
  • Outlets
  • Wiring insulation

Keep in mind that it’s impossible to confirm the presence of asbestos in these appliances and electrical equipment by yourself.

It’s better to hire professional inspectors to test your house for asbestos and see which items contain the hazardous material.

In most instances, if the ACMs are in perfect condition, you don’t have to remove them from your house.

But if you decide to get rid of all your asbestos-containing home appliances, you must hire professional asbestos removalists to extract the ACMS safely and swiftly.

Also, they can properly dispose of your asbestos appliances. Because simply throwing them away in the trash might even cause asbestos contamination in your area. 

Asbestos in automotives

Because of its affordability and great heat resistance, asbestos was used in making these car parts:

  • Brake linings
  • Gaskets
  • Clutch facings
  • Heat seals

If you are a mechanic or a hobbyist who loves to tinker around the car, you might want to take extra precautions when working on your car’s brakes.

According to researchers, a nanogram of brake dust may contain 90,000 fibres, just enough to cause you several health problems even if your exposure is very limited.

You may find these asbestos-filled parts in vintage cars and other automobiles that were imported from other countries.

So if you own such a type of car, it would be better to assume that it has asbestos in it so that you could manage your risks when cleaning or repairing your car.

How do you get exposed to these asbestos products?

There are a hundred ways you can get exposed to asbestos, whether you’re at home or in the workplace. Below are only some of them:

  • Drilling into the drywalls
  • Removing the vinyl floor tiles or roof shingles yourself
  • Removing the popcorn ceilings
  • Cutting insulating pipes
  • Peeling off your house’s textured paint
  • Blowing off the brake dust in your car

As you may have noticed, every exposure scenario we just listed has something to do with you unknowingly disturbing the asbestos-containing materials that are lurking in your house.

After all, you can’t really take safety precautions if you have no knowledge of asbestos presence in your house, right?

How to prevent asbestos exposure

The best way to lessen your risks of getting exposed to asbestos is to know whether your house has asbestos-containing materials in the first place.

And the best way to do that is to hire professional asbestos inspectors to survey your house so they can correctly identify the asbestos-containing materials in your home.

They can provide you with an asbestos report that details all the ACMs in your house and their locations. They can also recommend which materials need to be removed immediately and which are better left untouched.

Once you’ve correctly identified the ACMs in your house, all that’s left to do is to remove everything that needs to be removed, which is a task that you should not do yourself.

It’s best to leave the job to the trained experts here at Asbestos Australia Removalist. Keep in mind that as long as your house is not yet cleared of asbestos, don’t make any DIY renovations to avoid asbestos exposure and contamination. 

Why choose us for your home’s asbestos removal

Asbestos is a very serious matter, that’s why it must be handled by people who are very serious about it.

Once you’ve confirmed the asbestos presence after a thorough inspection of your home, give us a call and we’ll remove the ACMs that are potentially dangerous.

With the right tools and experience, our team of asbestos removal experts in Melbourne can extract the ACMs in your house carefully and swiftly.

Check out our recent projects and see for yourself!

Posted By: Asbestos Australia Removalist

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