The word ‘asbestos’ refers to a group of 6 naturally found silicate materials that have unusual properties, such as being a great electrical insulator, while asbestos is also very fire resistant, the main reason it was used in construction. There have been archeological finds that show asbestos was used as far back as the Stone Age, yet it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that asbestos was seriously mined.
Fuelling the Industrial Revolution
Asbestos became a very popular material when the Industrial Revolution began, which led to large mines in Russia, Canada and other parts of the world, which were supplying the factories that fabricated building sheeting, into which asbestos was added, due to its resistance to fire. In the 1950s, doctors began to notice that people who were constantly exposed to asbestos were developing serious respiratory illnesses, yet despite this, nothing was done to quell the demand for this unique material. In Australia, post-war construction used asbestos sheeting, mainly for ceilings and partition walls and in kitchens where fire is always a risk.
This was the time when the tide eventually turned and asbestos was understood to cause asbestosis and lung cancer, which resulted in the harmful material being banned in many developing countries (it is rumoured that Russia and China still use asbestos). In the 1990s asbestos was banned in Australia, but if you won a property that was built pre 1990s, there’s a good chance that asbestos was used. If you are planning a renovation project and you suspect there might be asbestos behind some of the walls, search online for asbestos removal in Perth from a reputable and approved asbestos removal firm.
Any material that contains asbestos does not present a danger unless it is disturbed, when minute slivers of the silicate material become airborne and should a person inhale asbestos slivers, they will stick to the lungs. The asbestos might lay dormant for years, then without warning, you develop respiratory issues, which could be fatal if undetected, and if you are in a room when asbestos sheeting ir removed, you are right in the danger zone.
Asbestos Testing & Safe Removal
There is an entire industry that is dedicated to the detection and safe removal of asbestos from Australian homes, many of which were built prior to the ban of asbestos, and if you are planning a renovation project, you are advised to call in an asbestos specialist, who can test for the presence of this harmful material and safely remove it if it is found.