Asbestos

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which was used to make Asbestos cement products in Western Australia between 1921 and 1987. Asbestos cement was used in many products in the building industry, such as roofing, fencing, floor tiles and exterior wall cladding.

Products containing Asbestos were phased out because inhalation of Asbestos fibres can cause Asbestosis, Pleural Plaques, Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma. However, these diseases have usually been associated with exposure to a large numbers of fibres.

Are all Asbestos Products Dangerous?

Asbestos containing materials do not usually pose a health risk if they are intact and are left undisturbed. The use of power tools for cutting, drilling, grinding, sanding and sawing or cleaning with high pressure water guns may release fibres into the air and should therefore be avoided at sites where Asbestos products have been used.

As the use of Asbestos products cannot be determined by sight, the only way to ascertain whether a material contains Asbestos is to send a sample for laboratory analysis. Building material that may have been manufactured prior to 1987 should be regarded as potentially containing asbestos and handled appropriately.

How to Safely Remove Asbestos Products

With the serious health implications associated with Asbestos, the removal and disposal of Asbestos should be undertaken by a professional. Bonded (non-friable) Asbestos of under ten (10) square metres can be removed without a licence. Over 10 square metres or any amount of friable Asbestos must be removed by a licensed and trained individual or business.

Should an individual choose to remove under 10 square metres, personal protective equipment and all necessary safety precautions should be utilised.

For further information on personal protective equipment and how and where to dispose of Asbestos safely, please refer to the links below.

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