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  • Writer's pictureNadia Crighton

Asbestos Exposure – How Much Can Cause Illness?

Asbestos Removals Marlborough looks at the amounts of asbestos exposure it takes to develop a possible asbestos related illness. PLUS: what steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.

Let’s face it. In NZ we are DIY fanatics. It is not uncommon to hear of young and old couples and singles alike taking on the journey of pulling some walls down, removing floor tiles and renovating their homes around the country.

But what about asbestos? As this toxic fibre was commonly used around the country in many homes and workplaces, could your DIY project expose you and your family to asbestos and leave them at risk of developing an asbestos related disease in the future.

But asbestos is banned in New Zealand, so you are safe, right? Wrong! The fact is that asbestos still resides in many homes and businesses around NZ. With the ban only taking effect in 2016 it is understood that any home that has been built or even renovated before 2000 is likely to contain some sort of asbestos. With more and more New Zealanders tackling some impressive DIY projects, it is a great concern that some unsuspecting DIY enthusiasts could be exposing themselves and their family to asbestos contamination.

There are also other factors that can increase your chance of being adversely affected by your asbestos exposure including the environment you encountered the toxic fibre – workplace or in the home. If you are a smoker or suffer any other health complications. Genetics can also play a role.

The experts are, however, agreeable on one factor – there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Contact on any level with asbestos can lead to cancer and other chronic respiratory diseases. This contact can lead to problems from 10-80 years after exposure to asbestos.

What Should You Do if Exposed to Asbestos?

It’s important that regardless of the amount of asbestos you think you were exposed to, is to speak to your local GP and report the exposure. If you present any symptoms over the years such as:

  • Coughing

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

To seek professional advice from a doctor immediately.

Can I remove Asbestos Myself?

The Ministry of Health advises not to undertake any Class B asbestos containing material removal that is more than 10 metres squared. It is against the law to attempt to remove any friable asbestos unless you are a trained and qualified asbestos removalist.

However, if you suspect that you have any asbestos it’s best to call in the professionals to ensure you keep you and your family safe. Disturbing asbestos leads to larger risks of exposure or escalating the contamination or problem. Asbestos dust is deadly and by distributing this dust around your come could leave you with a very expensive contaminated area to rectify, not to mention the health risks you pose to yourself and others in the area.

Any asbestos also needs to be disposed of correctly to reduce the continuing dangers it will pose. Calling in the experts can not only save you money and ensure you are kept safe, they can also dispose of your asbestos in a safe way.

If in doubt, hit the pause button on your DIY home renovation and seek professional advice. It may save you thousands and possibly your life.

Looking for an Asbestos Removal Specialist? You know who to call.
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