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What is Asbestos

Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in Australia from the 1940’s to late 1980’s until it was finally banned in 1989. However, it is possible that buildings built after 1990 may contain asbestos as second hand materials containing asbestos may have been used. It was commonly used in many products due to its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical damage as well as its sound absorption and tensile strength. This means that asbestos is often found in old fences, roofing, building insulation, wall sheeting, vinyl floor tiles, meter boards and lagging on pipes.

One reason why it was so popular is because of asbestos' flame resistance. Check out this blow torch test on an asbestos roof:

Common Asbestos Roofing  Asbestos Roofing  Common Fencing With Asbestos

Dangers of Asbestos

Once these Asbestos fibres are disturbed they can propose sizeable risk as they become airborne and are inhaled. The inhalation of these asbestos fibres can cause serious illnesses including lung cancer and asbestosis to name a few.

Often these asbestos-related illnesses take a long time to become symptomatic so victims are not usually aware that they are being exposed to these respirable fibres. This means that victims are subjected to long exposure of asbestos fibres without knowing it and with prolonged exposure comes greater health risks.

Types of Asbestos

Asbestos is commonly referred to by three types:

  • chrysotiles – This fibre belongs to the serpentine class and has curly fibres opposed to the other classes which are needlelike. This fibre is mostly found in cement roof sheets, ceilings, walls and floors.
  • crocidolite – These fibres are brittle, yet flexible and are naturally formed in bundles. It’s commonly called blue Asbestos because of its colour and was often used in Australia.
  • amosite – This fibre was commonly produced in the asbestos mines of South Africa and was used in ceiling tiles and in thermal insulation products.

Asbestos Containing Materials

Under Queensland Law, asbestos-containing materials (ACM) are divided into two types:

Bonded asbestos (non friable asbestos) fibres were used to reinforce bonding compounds like cement, vinyl or resin. Over 97% of the asbestos in Australia was regarded as bonded asbestos and was commonly used in many building materials. Once the bonded asbestos is disturbed it releases a few particles but then will not generally continue to do so.

These materials include:

  • cement sheeting (fibro)
  • corrugated roofing
  • profiled sheets used on roofs and walls
  • imitation brick cladding
  • roof shingles
  • water of flue pipes
  • plaster patching compounds
  • textured paint
  • vinyl floor tiles

Friable asbestos can easily be crumbled and reduced to powder by hand when its dries. This is extremely hazardous as it can easily become airborne. Friable asbestos was extremely versatile and can be easily molded, painted, cut or drilled.

Common forms of friable asbestos materials found in Australia include:

  • thermal insulation
  • sprayed on fireproofing, sound proofing and thermal insulation
  • acoustic plaster sound proofing.

Use the form to the right to get an asbestos testing quote