Asbestos can be found in any building constructed before the year 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals etc) and causes around 5000 deaths every year. When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases.
Asbestos use has declined due to regulations, product bans and the use of safer alternatives. However, the general public may still be at risk of asbestos exposure from old products and materials. During a renovation or demolition, asbestos-containing materials may be disturbed.
If you don’t take proper precautions when handling asbestos, it can be incredibly harmful to your health.
Building Materials Containing Asbestos
Textured popcorn ceilings
Vinyl floor tiles
What happens when you disturb asbestos fibres?
Asbestos is a dangerous material if disturbed. When asbestos materials are damaged they release tiny fibres, if breathed in can cause serious and often fatal asbestos diseases. When asbestos fibres become trapped in the body, they can lead to a range of health problems. Without the correct procedures in place, removing or disturbing asbestos materials is very high risk.
Is removal always necessary?
Asbestos removal can be very dangerous if it’s not dealt with safely, inhaling these fibres can lead to serious medical conditions, including asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.
If asbestos materials are in good condition and are undisturbed, they are usually considered safe as it is unlikely that airborne asbestos fibres will be released into the air. This is why it is often safer to leave these materials and an asbestos surveyor review their condition over time than to have them removed.
Since asbestos removal can be such a hazardous undertaking, it’s important that it’s carried out by a professional asbestos removal specialist so that they can remove it safely and dispose of it correctly. While there are no laws regarding the removal of asbestos yourself, you shouldn’t attempt to remove or handle it on your own, as you run the risk of inhaling the fibres if it’s a friable form of asbestos.