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How is Asbestos Dangerous?


Asbestos is a silent and deadly killer around the globe. This toxic fibre is being found in many homes and businesses around New Zealand. Asbestos Removals Marlborough looks at when asbestos is dangerous and what implications it can have on your health.


Interestingly when it has not been disturbed asbestos is not a danger to your health. However, once these toxic fibres are released, they can lead to devastating effects. Because of this, new laws have come into effect that prevents many industries from utilising this once hailed material. The scary notion is – many DIY enthusiasts do not understand the dangers and will accidentally disturb this material in their homes during renovations and extensions.


It is not uncommon to hear of unsuspecting homeowners and business owners accidentally drilling or removing asbestos ceilings or tiles, only to realise the issue after the fibres have been distributed into the air. Many of these fibres will then become trapped in the membranes of the nose and throat, with some making it deep into the lungs. Once these hazardous fibres enter the body, they can lead to serious health conditions.


For this reason, you should have your home or office cleared of any possible asbestos before you start renovating, or after any unusual damage. Particularly in New Zealand where earthquakes are common, shaking can disturb and damage asbestos products. Other main causes of damage include:

  • Water damage

  • The aging of the asbestos

  • Drilling

  • Grinding

  • Shaking

If you think you have disturbed any asbestos, it’s vitally important you seek professional advice and leave the area immediately. The area will need to have a trained professional to analyse the material before you can have clearance to start work again. Put up warning signs and ensure nobody enters the affected area. It’s always best to assume it’s the worst to keep yourself and your workers safe.

The top three diseases that are associated with asbestos include:


Asbestosis – a non-cancerous respiratory disease caused by asbestos fibres that have aggravated the lungs. This can lead to shortness of breath and in advanced stages lead to cardiac failure. There is no known treatment or cure for asbestosis.


Lung Cancer – many who were involved in mining, manufacturing, or milling asbestos have sadly succumbed to lung cancer.


Mesothelioma – very rage from of cancer that has a direct link with asbestos exposure. This cancer often affects the membrane of the lungs, chest, and abdomen.


What should you do if you find asbestos?

If you are a DIY enthusiast it’s best to do some research before you start ripping up tiles, removing walls, or ceilings. If your home was built or renovated before 2000 chances are there will be some sort of asbestos lurking somewhere. Getting educated on what asbestos looks like (in all forms) is a good place to start. Remembering that it may not be a problem until it’s been disturbed. It is always advised before any home-reno project to call in the experts and have your home cleared. If you are using contractors and they find or suspect any asbestos issues, you will be required to stop the work, clear the site, and have the area analysed. This can cut heavily into your budget and your deadlines for the completion of work. Once the area has been given the all-clear, you will be given a clearance certificate from a registered asbestos professional.


In saying this, it’s always best to ensure the work is ready to roll without any complications. Getting your home cleared of any possible issues is the best way to ensure you can start your dream project without any hiccups that asbestos can bring.

Plus, you will be keeping not only your family safe but also the people who intend to do any work on your renovation.




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