With the current local COVID-19 lockdown in place throughout NSW and other States and Territories in Australia with restrictions temporarily changing the way we live, the upward trend of DIY home renovations and commercial building projects has continued. When looking at beginning DIY renovations or demolishing building structures, it is important to understand the types of hazardous materials, including asbestos, that may be present before you start.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of tiny, microscopic fibres. It was used in Australia in many forms for decades, due to its strength and heat resistant properties.
When asbestos is disturbed, the fibres become airborne and can be easily inhaled. Asbestos fibres may get trapped in the lungs, potentially causing a number of life-threatening diseases like cancer.
Inhalation is the main way that asbestos enters the body. Being exposed to asbestos fibres increases the risk of developing cancers of the lung, larynx, ovary as well as mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lung). These cancers often take decades after exposure to asbestos, to develop.
At all times the Asbestosis and Mesothelioma Association of Australia Limited (AMAA) advises people, when about to undertake renovations to a home built before 1990, to employ the services of licensed asbestos assessors (by the relevant State authority i.e Safe work NSW)
These people/organisations are able to undertake asbestos inspections, sampling, and testing, building and property surveys, risk assessments, asbestos air monitoring, clearance inspections, asbestos management plans, and respond to emergency situations.
It is recommended that any issues with asbestos are included in all budgeting when renovating.
To find out more call AMAA on 1800 017 758 or go to the national Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA)