Asbestos cement materials were first manufactured in Australia in the 1920’s and from the mid 1940’s to the late 1980’s they were used in the manufacturing of residential building materials.
Asbestos cement materials were phased out during the 1980’s in favour of asbestos-free products, and in December 2003 a total ban on the manufacture, use, reuse, transport, import, storage or sales of all forms of asbestos came into force.
Many homes that were built before 1990 may contain asbestos cement materials, especially in internal and external wall cladding, eaves, ceilings – especially in wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries, and fences.
If your home was built before the mid 80’s there is a high chance it has asbestos containing products, and a likely chance if your home was built between the mid 80’s and 1990. Homes built after 1990 should not contain any asbestos products.
If you are worried about asbestos and asbestos removal in your home, call the professionals.
Asbestos is mined and then milled from a native rock and is a generic term that refers to a type of silicate material that is naturally occurring. Asbestos is thin and fibros but very strong and heat resistant, and, due to its ability to be woven it has also been used in many industrial applications. Among the range of products produced over time that contain asbestos include – flooring, roofing shingles, pipes, and guttering. These products were commonly used from the 1950’s till the 1980’s. As well as being used in construction materials asbestos was also used on hotplate wiring and electric ovens thanks to its tremendous heat resistance.
Apart from being used in manufacturing and construction, asbestos was also mined throughout Australia and during the 1950’s till the 1980’s had the highest per capita rate of asbestos usage anywhere in the world. Asbestos mines operated at Wittenoom in Western Australia between the 1940’s and 1966 with nearly 161,000 tonnes of material being mined. The mine was closed in 1966 and the following year the use of blue asbestos was banned. In the mid 1980’s the use of brown asbestos was banned, and white asbestos was finally banned in 2003. While the Wittenoom mine was the busiest, there was also an asbestos mine near Barraba in New South Wales.
Today over 40 countries around the world have bans on the importation and use of materials containing asbestos. Unfortunately, in spite of these bans many residents throughout Australia still remain at risk for serous health issues due to asbestos exposure in older constructions. Mesothelioma a specific type of lung cancer has been associated with asbestos exposure. Older homes are of most concern due to asbestos cement used in construction.
If you have any concerns about asbestos in or around your home call your local asbestos removal service for advice.