Asbestos in the home can be in one of two forms. The most common is in firmly bound material, such as;
- asbestos cement sheeting or ‘fibro’
- some types of vinyl floor tiles
- water or flue pipes
- lino and plaster patching compounds
- roof shingles and flexible building boards
The second and less common form is asbestos insulation such as asbestos lagging wrapped around hot water pipes. You should always presume any material contains asbestos unless there is strong evidence to suggest it does not. The building plans may provide evidence that other materials were used.
If you think that you have found asbestos in your home, do not touch it. Asbestos is at risk in the home when it is disturbed in a way that produces dust that contains asbestos fibres. In many cases the presence of asbestos containing materials in the home is no cause for alarm if the material has not been damaged. If the material is not damaged and shows no signs of wear and tear it can often be left in place. Internal asbestos cement sheet walls or ceilings that are in good condition and coated with paint do not pose a risk to health whilst they are not showing signs of degradation or damage.
If you have to handle or work with asbestos it is important to remember:
- Do Not use power tools
- Do Not walk on corrugated asbestos cement roofs as you may run the risk of falling through the roof
- Do Not use abrasive cutting or sanding discs
- Do Not leave asbestos products around the garden where they may be broken or crushed
- Do Not use compressed air
- Do get the material tested by a NATA accredited laboratory if you are unsure if it contains asbestos
- Do Not use high pressure hoses