Are you safe? Identifying asbestos without increasing risks of exposure

Asbestos inspires dread in almost every Australian. It does not require an introduction. If your forefathers built your residence before the 1980s or you have bought an old property, then the walls, ceiling, floor, and insulation might contain asbestos. Typically, batt insulation does not pose high risks of asbestos exposure. Loose-fill attic and wall insulation usually increase the chances of asbestos exposure. You might find asbestos in hot water pipes and the furnace. Ideally, you should leave the asbestos parts alone and call the professional asbestos deconstruction experts.

Does your insulation have an asbestos problem?

You should not poke around or try to collect samples of the insulation. However, if the loose-fill insulation has the following traits, you should immediately call for expert advice –

  1. The insulation is either grey-brown or silver gold in colour. Zonolite is a trademarked insulation product that builders used extensively between the 1940s and 1990s in the urban and suburban areas of Australia.
  2. Zonolite in loose-fill insulation typically assumes an accordion-like texture. The change in texture happens when the material absorbs a lot of heat and the asbestos particles puff up.
  3. The insulation is usually flat. It is different from modern fibreglass insulation that exhibits a fluffy and light texture. Zonolite lays firmly in the joist cavity.

Not all that’s grey is asbestos

It is important to remember that not all grey or fluffy loose insulation material is asbestos. If the insulation is grey but dull and soft, then you are dealing with cellulose. If it is white and fluffy, with a touch of sheen, it is fibreglass. Both cellulose and fibreglass contain no earth minerals, and they are completely safe for every home. Another popular insulation material you can find in the newly-built Australian homes is rock wool. It usually appears white to brownish-white. It has natural minerals, but it is also completely safe, and it is NOT carcinogenic.

Should you conduct DIY asbestos testing?

Living in Australia, it is common to come across DIY asbestos testing kits. However, exposing yourself to asbestos is something Advanced Deconstruction experts do not recommend at all. You should not even think about disturbing the insulation if you notice the signs we have mentioned about. You can give a local asbestos removal company a call for advice. Some asbestos deconstruction and removal companies offer a free consultation and testing services to find out if the residents have any chances of asbestos exposure from their pipelines, flooring, insulation and drywall. 

An expensive necessity for safety and health

An abatement company might sound like a costly affair for most homeowners, but you should not put a price on your family’s safety and wellbeing. The carcinogenic mineral is dangerous at the minutest amounts. There is no safe exposure limits or threshold safety limits for asbestos. It is a silent killer that has defeated thousands across the country. If you live in an old house or apartment building, you should ensure everyone’s safety by consulting an asbestos abatement company today!

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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