Asbestos: What Is It?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring set of minerals in the form of fiber bundles. In the past it was widely used in the building industry, especially as insulation because of its resistance to fire and heat. However, it is now a health hazard since it was discovered that continuous exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung disorders and cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis and other cancers.

According to research conducted by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in New Zealand, about 170 people died in 2010 from asbestos-related diseases. The report went on further to state that the increase in the number of asbestos-related deaths was caused by past exposure to asbestos that could have occurred as far back as the 1950s or 1960s. The report concluded that exposure to asbestos is the single biggest cause of work-related disease deaths. Such data emphasizes the danger this mineral poses and the need to prevent present-day exposure to asbestos.

Areas in the Home Where Asbestos Hazards May be Found 

1. Insulation of houses built around 1940

2. Some roofs made of cement if they have asbestos in their composition

3. Textured paint of old houses

4. Floors and walls around fireplaces and kitchens

5. Hot water steam pipes, furnace ducts and boilers

6. Resilient floor tiles ( Asphalt, Vinyl and Rubber floor tiles)

7. Decorative or sound proofing material

8. Patching compounds for ceilings and walls

9. Artificial ashes and embers

Tips for Homeowners 

If you suspect your home or commercial building might have asbestos then:

· Call a professional body to check your household for asbestos

· Avoid activity and limit access to areas of the house that may contain asbestos

· Avoid damaging asbestos material

· Don't dust, scrape, vacuum, sweep, saw, sand or drill holes on material that that may contain asbestos

· Organise for new floor covering to be laid if you suspect your floor may have compositions of asbestos

· It is recommended that repairs must be done only by professionals but if you do choose to do minor repairs, you should have as much information as possible on the handling of asbestos before doing anything. 

Asbestos poses a risk to more than 10% of households and commercial installations in New Zealand. If you are building a new home avoid material that contains asbestos. Building materials such as recycled timber are a safe bet and can be used in any part of a building.

If you are based in Auckland and need some advice on removing asbestos or using recycled timber then contact Advanced Demolition. Advanced Demolition offer NZ asbestos testing, assessment, removal, and disposal of any asbestos hazard. Visit their website for more details about their services.

Contact our friendly team to make a booking!

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