Asbestos is a group of naturally forming minerals that are widely distributed in nature.
These minerals have been exploited commercially and used as a desirable raw material for their heat resistant properties in the production of insulation, construction materials, and concrete; as an additive in paint and sealants, vehicle brake pads and clutches; and outdoor furniture.
These asbestos minerals are most commonly found in building materials such as asbestos cement products. Unfortunately, asbestos is a highly toxic, insidious, and environmentally persistent material that has affected thousands of Australians, and is likely to affect thousands more this century.
In the past, Australia was one of the biggest users of asbestos in the world. Asbestos-related diseases characteristically develop over a long period of time and the first symptoms may not appear for 10-50 years.
As a general rule, if your house was built before the mid-1980s, it is highly likely that it may have some asbestos-containing materials. If your house was built between the mid-1980s and 1990, it is likely that it would have asbestos containing materials. If your house was built after 1990, it is unlikely that it would have asbestos containing materials.
As a consequence, we have one of the world’s highest rates of mesothelioma and it is estimated that the number of cases will continue to grow during the next decade.
It is strongly recommended that anybody undertaking ‘do it yourself’ renovations, or other building work around the house, should ensure they and their families are not at risk of exposure to asbestos.
You cannot determine whether a material contains asbestos by simply looking at it. The only way to be sure is to get a sample tested by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory.
In fact, there are many areas in the home where asbestos-containing materials can be found including (but not limited to):
- roof sheeting and capping
- gables, eaves/soffitswater pipes and flues
- wall sheeting (flat or a weatherboard style)
- vinyl sheet flooring
- carpet and tile underlays
- zelemite backing boards to the switchboards
- flexible building boards
- imitation brick cladding
- carports and sheds
- waterproof membrane
- telecommunications pits
- some window putty
- expansion joints
- packing under beams
- concrete formwork
Asbestos related diseases include:
If you have come into contact with Asbestos or products containing Asbestos and experience any of these symptoms, Lung Foundation Australia encourages you to talk to your doctor.
For more information about asbestos in your home and the safe removal of asbestos, please see:
|NT||Northern Territory Department of Health|
|QLD||Department of Employment and Industrial Relations|
|WA||WA Department of Health – Public Health|
Pleural Mesothelioma Fact Sheet
Mesothelioma, Understanding, Managing, Living DVD
Mesothelioma, Understanding, Managing, Living looks at what happens when a person is diagnosed with mesothelioma through to available treatments and living with mesothelioma.
Other Useful Links
|Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA)|
|The Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia or call 1800 646 690.|
|Asbestos Diseases Research Institute or call 02 9767 9800.|
|Cancer Council Australia or call 13 11 20.|
|National Asbestos Exposure Register|
New South Wales
|Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia or call 1800 006 196.|
|NSW Dust Disease Board or call 1800 550 027.|
|Asbestoswise or call 03 9654 9555.|
|Better Health - Asbestos in the home|
|Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia Inc.|
|Asbestos Victims Association|
|Asbestos Diseases Society of SA Inc.|
|Asbestos Related Disease Support Society Qld Inc. or call 1800 776 412.|
|Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation (AFTF) Inc.|