If your house in Sydney was built before 1990, it would likely contain some form of asbestos material. So, do a test to find out whether your home has asbestos, and if the results indicate the presence of asbestos, it should be removed.
According to the regulations, asbestos removal in Sydney can be done only by licensed contractors because they know how to handle the material safely. This is because asbestos can be hazardous when it is broken or disturbed in any way. If asbestos deteriorates or gets disturbed, it liberates its fibres into the air, and when inhaled, these fibres can cause damage to the lungs. So, if you are planning to purchase a house in Sydney, consider an asbestos survey before buying it. And if you don’t do this, you could be purchasing someone else’s problem.
Health Problems Caused by Asbestos
Australia is one of the countries having the highest rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world. This is because asbestos was widely used in the construction of Sydney homes and workplaces because of its strength, fire resistance, insulating properties, sound absorption, and affordability. It was the perfect material for roof tiles, carpet underlay, and insulation.
On the other hand, asbestos fibres released from deteriorated or damaged asbestos can cause diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, laryngeal cancer and asbestosis. Also, symptoms of asbestos-related health problems are experienced many years after asbestos exposure, and this can be anywhere between 15 – 40 years. Meanwhile, the most common asbestos-related disease in Australia is malignant mesothelioma.
Signs of Asbestos Exposure
Asbestos primarily causes lung diseases. The other parts of the body that get affected by asbestos are the throat, stomach, and colon.
Symptoms of lung damage:
- Dry cough or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Crackling sound when breathing
- Respiratory complications
- Pleural plaques
- Pleural thickening
- Pleural effusion
Symptoms of damage to other body parts:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty while swallowing
- Weight loss
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Abdominal swelling and distension
- Bowel obstruction
- Clubbed fingers
When Does Asbestos Become Dangerous?
When asbestos is in good condition, it will not release fibres and doesn’t cause any health problems. Hence, the best thing to do is not to disturb it, as only damaged asbestos materials cause health hazards. On the other hand, if the asbestos is scraped, sawed, or when it crumbles, it is time to remove it.
When to Remove Asbestos
Check periodically for tears, abrasions, or water damage to the asbestos in your house. Even if the damage is very less, do not touch it and limit access to that area, and call qualified asbestos abatement professionals. They will inspect the area, do a visual examination and collect samples for analysis. Also, sometimes, the asbestos is encapsulated and left in the same place. But, if the damage is severe, it should be removed.
Safety Measures to Be Taken While Removing Asbestos
Precautions should be taken while removing asbestos from your house, as asbestos fibres may be released into the air when heavy power tools like saws and drills are used on them. And for this, all furniture, clothing, and other things should be covered properly to avoid getting contaminated by asbestos fibres. These fibres are also invisible to the naked eye, and sometimes, you may be asked to stay out of your house while asbestos removal is taking place.
Asbestos removal in Sydney is a complex job, and it requires special training and equipment. Moreover, all the materials containing asbestos should be removed/treated with extreme caution, and it is a must to get the help of asbestos abatement professionals who can handle the job for you.