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Asbestos May Still be Lurking at Your House
The scandals and disasters related to asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) apparently have not died down. Instead, more cases appeared over the past few years and creating nightmares for people and the environment. It has been reported that most cases of mesothelioma, which is an aggressive form of cancer, result from exposure to the ACM at work.
ACM products were widely used in Australian housing and constructions. They were massively used for roofing, flooring, or walls. In the 1950s, Fibro sheeting was probably the most widely used building product in Australia. Surprisingly, it is still being used today despite the ban of fibrous products in 2003. Fibro sheeting is commonly used for sheds, outside cladding of houses, and garages.
Where is it likely to be found?
AMCs have been used extensively in houses. Many areas in houses seemingly contain fibrous products. They are including:
- Tile underlay and carpet
- Vinyl flooring
- Wall sheeting
- Imitation brick cladding
- Glue attaching floor tiles to concrete or wood
- Roof sheeting and capping
- Gables, eaves
- pipes and flues
- carports and sheds
- several window putty
- Fibre cement siding
- waterproof membrane
- flexible building boards
- concrete formwork
- some forms of paint
In Australia, the use of non-friable ACM products was more than 97%. The ACM was often bonded with vinyl, cement, or resin in a product. The product is solid and cannot easily be crumbled only by hand pressure, but it is possible to be damaged and weathered and becomes friable. When it is disturbed or broken, the ACM product may release a certain amount of fibres. That’s when it becomes harmful to you and the environment.
How It Deteriorates Your Health
It’s not a big surprise that many have suffered because of the exposure to ACM fibres. Some died, and some live in fear and endure mental health issues. They are in a serious depression for the fact that this life-threatening product is still in their house.
As a matter of fact, the material is safe if it is intact. The problem is once it is disturbed or deteriorated; the fibres can be released into the air. You, and other people around the area, could unconsciously inhale the fibres and the next thing you know is that your health is at stake.
Take a Precaution
Knowing the fact that older houses in Australia are suspected to be contaminated with the fibrous product, it will not hurt you to take an early precaution. It has been widely known that houses built before 1990 is likely to contain the ACM. The house may either contain friable or non-friable asbestos. Both can give chills to your spine if they become damaged and generate fibres into the air. The sooner you check your house, the better it will be for you.
Knowing the history of your house is one of the methods for early identification. As previously mentioned, older residential buildings may contain an ACM. Identify when your house was built or renovated! That can help you decide your next step. If your home was built around the 1980s, then having a house inspection is urgent since you are dealing with a silent killer.
Is It Safe to do a DIY home inspection?
DIY is allowed and permitted although you do not own a licence. However, you should follow the guidance and wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE is important to be used to minimise the exposure risk. Remember you are working with a hazardous product.
Among the equipment you have to wear during an inspection:
- A respirator helps you to avoid from breathing in the fibres.
- An overall can protect you from being exposed to fibres.
- Shoes and the shoe covers.
These are other equipment you must have for handling fibrous products, including:
- Sealed plastic bags
- Shoe cover
- Spray pack
- 1 x roll duct tape
For non-friable and bonded materials including vinyl floor tiles:
- Place a plastic drop sheet to capture any loose product that might drop while doing sampling.
- Turn off the air condition or fan near you. If you do the sampling outside, choose an area that is not windy.
- Put on a respirator mask.
- Wear an overall.
- Sprinkle the area with water.
- Take a small piece of the material with a pair of pliers.
- Take the sample from an existing hole or corner edge, behind a power point or crack.
- Put samples into sealed plastic bags and don’t forget to double the bags.
- Label the samples with date, time, and location.
- Send the material to a NATA accredited laboratory.
If you are unsure that you can do the testing process safely, then, hiring an assessor is the best option. He will be able to provide you with a quality testing service. Afterwards, the assessor will give you a report on the presence, location and type of fibrous products in the form of an asbestos register.
Once you have found out that your house is contaminated with fibrous products, you have to take a quick action. Remove all those hazards.
Again, DIY is also allowed for removal but with a certain restriction. You are permitted to work on non-friable materials only and if the removal area is not more than 10m2 and the work can be performed in one hour in a seven-day period.
Here are some recommendations that you need to consider if you think of doing it yourself:
- Is the fibrous product undamaged? Is it possible for you to let it untouched?
- Do you have any other method for removing fibrous materials like sealing or coating them with a non-fibrous product?
- Can you follow the safety procedures and laws for working with the ACM?
It is strongly recommended that the homeowner has previously completed an ACM awareness course or competency of non-friable removal unit (CPCCDE3014A – Remove non-friable Fibre). Both courses give information on detecting and working securely with the fibrous material, how to arrange, contain and get rid of fibrous products, and decontamination methods.
Recent Findings on DIY asbestos removal
Current statistics show a significant increase of ACM-related diseases in individuals who have worked with fibrous materials during a renovation work. There has been a huge increase of mesothelioma cases, female (700%) and male (250%), because of fibre exposure during a DIY renovation in the past decade.
Another research shows that a smoker who works in an ACM-contaminated workplace is likely to be infected with ACM-related diseases compared to a non-smoker who works at the same place.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of DIY Removal
These are the reasons why you have to think first before decided to do a DIY.
- Financial efficiency.
- Getting satisfaction from getting the job done correctly.
- Working with an extremely life-threatening material.
- Physically demanding.
- Obligated to transport and dispose of the waste to a permitted landfill.
If you are planning on removing this dangerous material from the inside of your house, please reconsider. The wisest move you can do is leaving the job to the professionals. They have enough training and experiences to do the work and ensure that the fibres will not spread all over your house. These two links below can be your consideration for NOT doing a DIY removal.
Although doing the removal outdoor like removing roofing, fencing, and external cladding is usually much safer, the fibres can still be carried away by the air. What will happen next, we all know very well. The fibres can be inhaled and cause us to develop a deadly illness.
You Will Need Clear Asbestos Removal!
Since you can only work on non-friable materials, if you intend to do a house renovation, you are going to need a B-Class license contractor.
How can you find them among those many advertised removalists? We will ease your work. Through Clear Asbestos Removal, you will be able to get connected to great, local, and trusted contractors. We have been working with local contractors who have the expertise for asbestos removal projects. They have been strictly selected and have the certification for doing asbestos removal works.
You may need other services before and after the removal such as emergency repair, air monitoring, demolition, consultant, soil remediation and others. However, if you need services like:
Don’t hesitate to call our members. We will tell you why you need to choose our endorsed contractors:
- Accredited and licensed.
- Have experiences and excellent reviews.
- Can remove non-friable materials for both residential and commercial premises – at value prices.
- Give a thorough and comprehensive ACM identification and testing.
- EPA registered, they will ensure that the removal and disposal of the waste will be done in compliance with the local and national regulations.
Getting connected with Clear Asbestos Removal is the best move to deal with fibrous materials. We guarantee that our members can provide a quality service and satisfying results. Your safety is our priority that is why our approved removalists will ensure you that for each service requested, they would put your safety first.
Nothing can compare to the health of you and your family. Sure, every service offered will come with a price but rest assured that the price is competitive. Plus, you can ask not only one but three free quotes from our endorsed contractors.
Get your phone and call immediately. Let your life be peaceful without asbestos.
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