Guidelines for Detecting Asbestos in Your Home or Business
Asbestos was widely used in construction in the late 19th century for its heat-resistant, fire-resistant, chemical-resistant, and insulating properties. However, it has been banned on various continents, including Australia, because of health risks associated with prolonged exposure to the material.
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they damage the respiratory and digestive tract and lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer. Even minor exposure to asbestos fiber can be harmful to health, which is why the Australian government declared a total ban on the use of asbestos on December 31, 2003.
The best way to improve health and safety regulations is to learn how to detect asbestos in your home and your business area.
If detected, you should have an asbestos management plan that is legally valid.
Inspect your Building
Materials containing asbestos were the most popular prior to the 1980s. They were used primarily for insulation. If the building was built before the 1980s there is a very high chance that there is asbestos inside and it is best to remove it before it starts to decompose. However, if the building is relatively new, it is still important to conduct a rapid asbestos inspection as some of the materials removed in those years could be recycled and used in new buildings.
Places Where Asbestos is Commonly Found
To easily detect asbestos in a building, it is important to know where it is usually located. Asbestos fibers are usually detected in materials such as:
- Cement sheets, which are often used for the roof due to its high heat resistance.
- Vinyl Tiles – This type of tile is commonly installed in bathrooms, pipes, and other places that are often wet because asbestos is waterproof.
- Spray coatings – are often used on walls; it is the most dangerous of all asbestos-containing materials as it is the most susceptible to degradation and is easy to inhale.
Take an Asbestos Sample
It is best to make sure that the asbestos is removed. Sometimes a simple visual inspection is not enough. It is recommended to inspect things or take a sample of the materials to be tested for asbestos. Asbestos sampling is best left to experts, and in order to safely collect a sample for testing, the following rules must be followed:
Enclose the area from which the sample is to be taken; make sure there are no pets or children nearby. Wear protective clothing. Asbestos is toxic if inhaled, swallowed or enters the human body, therefore gloves, mask and goggles are recommended.
Mix water with a little detergent and put in a spray bottle, it will be used to moisten the sample to be removed to minimize the release of airborne asbestos fibers. Use appropriate tools to collect material; it is advisable to ensure that all layers of material have been taken to ensure accuracy.
Place the appropriate amount of material in a plastic zip-up bag and seal it, double the zip-up bag to make sure the material has not spilled.
Contact the Experts
There are many other areas where asbestos can hide, so it is best to leave the detection to the experts. They will use advanced asbestos detection equipment and have the proper training to deal with asbestos, if found.
A reliable asbestos management company can also build the required asbestos management plans, if asbestos is detected in your premises.