What is asbestos and what are the dangers?

11/03/2019
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If you think you’ve got asbestos in your building, it can be a cause for concern. But let’s take a quick look at why…

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a heat and chemical resistant mineral substance used in construction to provide insulation, but it can also be mixed into other materials such as plastic and cement to make them stronger. Asbestos is lightweight and fireproof due to its extremely high melting point. Its multitude of useful properties made it a very popular substance in the building and construction industry and it was incorporated into building materials such as cement, ceiling tiles and roof panels. In the 1950s, a fireproof spray containing asbestos was widely used in high rise buildings, and by the 1970s, 40,000 tons of insulation containing asbestos was used in the construction of tall buildings.

Why is it dangerous?

The qualities of asbestos that make it a versatile and practical substance are the same properties that make it extremely toxic. Asbestos fibres are microscopic, unscented and tasteless, and can be breathed in without a person realising it. Asbestos, as it is so durable, does not break down, and so once it has entered the lungs, it sits there without being expelled for years. As the fibres accumulate, they can cause internal inflammation and scarring. This can permanently damage the structure of the cells and can lead to various forms of mesothelioma cancer. Illnesses caused by asbestos exposure can take up to 50 years to develop, so residents of properties built before asbestos regulations were implemented may be at risk.

How do you remove it?

If you think your property may be constructed of materials containing asbestos, it is best to consult a licensed contractor. Thankfully, asbestos removal is possible, but it must be done in an extremely cautious manner by a licensed professional. Do not attempt to remove the asbestos-containing substances yourself, as this will put you and others that live in your home at a huge risk.

If you’re in Sydney and require asbestos removal, get in touch with us at Murphy’s Remedial Builders. We’re experts in hazardous remediation and have undergone countless asbestos removal projects, so you can trust us to get the job done correctly. If you’d like to make an enquiry, be sure to fill out our online form.

Photo: Danger - Asbestos Hazard by avlxyz licensed under Creative Commons 4.0
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