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Did You Know? – Asbestos


Asbestos is still very prevalent in many homes and businesses around the country. Even though this deadly material is now banned in New Zealand the threat of exposure is still very real. Asbestos Removals Marlborough looks at the top things every household needs to know about asbestos.


With the current bans on asbestos, many are left with a false set of security when it comes to this toxic fibre. The fact is; regardless of the bans, this product is still lurking in many homes and businesses around the country. For this reason, it is very important to call in the experts before undertaking any renovations or improvements, particularly in homes and businesses built before the year 2000.


Asbestos In Materials

Asbestos, once hailed the hero of the building industry, was used heavily in building materials. Praised for its fire-retardant properties and long life it was embedded in many products that still live in older homes and workplaces. Today, asbestos-containing materials are banned in New Zealand, however, it’s important to remember that in older buildings, this material is still commonly found.


Including:

  • asbestos-cement cladding and roofing

  • fire doors

  • high wattage insulation around electric light fittings

  • electrical switchboards and ceramic fuses

  • backing material for floor tiles and vinyl sheets

  • textured ceilings and sprayed-on wall surfaces

  • insulation around pipes, heaters, and hot water cylinders

  • insulation board for thermal protection like fireplaces

  • ceiling tiles

  • spouting for drainage and water supplies

  • air conditioning ducts

  • boiler gaskets

  • door seals for ovens, kilns, furnaces, and refrigeration units

  • insulation blocks

  • lift shafts

  • plaster and plaster cornice adhesive

  • industrial epoxy paints

  • wall insulation for stoves


Asbestos Remains in the Body

Unlike many toxic substances that in effect can be flushed out of the body, asbestos cannot. As it is a microscopic fibre it can stick and stay inside the lungs and body slowly causing detrimental effects. Once inhaled the exposure can eventually lead to fatal respiratory disease. This can take many years to show symptoms, even in some exposure cases, decades!


Asbestos is Still Mined

Yes, that is right, in many countries asbestos is still hailed as a hero product. Sadly, this is allowing this toxic fibre to enter many countries that have current bans on asbestos-containing materials. Recently Australia has interrupted shipments of building materials that contain asbestos. It is a constant problem for many government border security services who are constantly trying to intercept shipments containing this banned fibre and prevent it from going undetected across borders.


Asbestos is Not Dangerous if Left Undisturbed

That’s right unless disturbed asbestos is not deadly. The problem comes when this toxic fibre is accidentally disturbed or broken allowing the toxic fibres to become airborne. Once airborne they pose a massive health risk to those who are exposed, and it can happen very quickly. This is the reason it is vitally important that all construction work on older buildings is correctly monitored for any possible asbestos-containing products. The danger comes to DIY homeowners, who unknowingly expose themselves and family to asbestos. Knowing the risks and calling in the experts is highly recommended.


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