Take care with as­bestos

Central and North Burnett Times - - DOMAIN -

THE dis­cov­ery of as­bestos dur­ing the National Broad­band Net­work roll­out serves as a re­minder to home buy­ers and ren­o­va­tors that this ma­te­rial is still a com­monly found po­ten­tial haz­ard.

Mere men­tion of the word as­bestos and im­me­di­ately thoughts spring to lung can­cer, as­besto­sis and mesothe­lioma, but pro­vided the cor­rect pre­cau­tions are taken, the risks can be min­imised.

The risk of con­tract­ing th­ese dis­eases in­creases with the num­ber of fi­bres in­haled peo­ple who get health prob­lems have usu­ally been ex­posed to high lev­els of as­bestos for a long time.

That doesn’t mean as­bestos shouldn’t be treated with the ut­most of cau­tion.

Ian Agnew from Archi­cen­tre said that pro­vided as­bestos-ce­ment prod­ucts used in the con­struc­tion of homes are not dis­turbed the health of the oc­cu­pants of the home is not at

Ian Agnew


“If the as­bestos sheet­ing is in good con­di­tion, it can be painted so as to limit the break­down of the sur­face and the re­lease of fi­bres,” Mr Agnew said.

“Care should be taken and sand­ing dur­ing prepa­ra­tion should be avoided.”

Mr Agnew said the real risk of ex­po­sure to as­bestos fi­bres oc­curs with the de­mo­li­tion of walls or roofs dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion of a prop­erty and the break­ing, drilling or cut­ting of prod­ucts con­tain­ing as­bestos.

The big­gest con­cern with as­bestos has be­come the in­flu­ence of DIY and home

Care should be taken and sand­ing dur­ing prepa­ra­tion should be avoided.

ren­o­va­tion shows over the last decade in home own­ers tak­ing on their own work. The is­sue was high­lighted on Chan­nel 7’s new re­al­ity TV show House Rules when work had to be mo­men­tar­ily shut down fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of as­bestos in one of the homes be­ing ren­o­vated.

Mr Agnew said the con­cern is that home ren­o­va­tors may not recog­nise the ex­treme health risks in­volved for them­selves and their fam­i­lies which can be caused by as­bestos fi­bres.

As­bestos was used in flat sheet fi­bro-ce­ment build­ing prod­ucts un­til 1982 and in cor­ru­gated fi­bro-ce­ment roof­ing ma­te­rial un­til 1986 be­cause of its cheap­ness and ease of in­stal­la­tion.

Archi­cen­tre has found the most wide­spread pres­ence of as­bestos ce­ment sheets is in the eaves of many older houses, as a wall cladding or lin­ing ma­te­rial and in the form of roof­ing.

Older out­build­ings such as gar­den sheds, car­ports and garages are also of­ten clad en­tirely of as­bestos ce­ment sheet­ing and it can be present in older sheet floor­ing ma­te­rial and in pipe in­su­la­tion.

“As­bestos sheet­ing or other ma­te­ri­als con­tain­ing as­bestos should only ever be re­moved by a spe­cial­ist li­censed con­trac­tor who will also ar­range for its dis­posal in a land­fill reg­is­tered to take haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als.”

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