Asbestos in the Home: What Homeowners Should Know

Asbestos in AustraliaIn Australia, friable asbestos is typically utilised in industrial and commercial settings since the latter part of the 1800s for insulation, soundproofing and fireproofing. Some of these asbestos-containing products are likewise used in homes and might still be found in some older abodes.

Do You have Asbestos in your Home?

Asbestos cement and related products were first made in Australia around the 1920s for building materials used in residential settings from the mid-40s to the late 80s. It was only in the 80s that builders stopped using asbestos-containing building products and on December 31, 2003 that the government put a total ban on asbestos manufacturing, using, reusing, transporting, storing, importing and selling of anything that could contain asbestos. In general, prior to the ban of asbestos, it could be commonly found in the following areas:

Home Exterior: Corrugated, patterned, and flat roof and wall sheets, ridge caps, roof gutters, lining underneath eaves and imitation brick.

Roof Cavity: Though not widespread, asbestos could also be found in loose filling insulation, says an asbestos removal specialist in Perth.

Living Spaces: Asbestos cement wall sheeting, wood heater insulation, ceilings and underneath the hearths of wood heaters.

Laundry Area, Toilet and Bathrooms: Floors and ceilings, wall tile backing and asbestos cement wall sheeting.

Kitchen: Vinyl flooring tiles and their backing, Splashbacks, walls and ceramic tile underlay sheeting.

Backyard: Exterior toilets, garden sheds, fences, garages, dog kennels, carports, and on dumped or buried waste products.

Others: Heatproof mats, electrical metre board backing, covers of older ironing boards, clutch and brake linings, adhesive and filter products, insulation of hot water pipes set in masonry walls, select plaster sealants, and low-density fibreboard ceiling and wall panels, most especially in areas with high levels of humidity.

EOSH Consulting notes that many homes built prior to the mid-80s up to the early 90s more often than not contain products that have asbestos in them. If you are unsure as to whether you have asbestos in your home or not, it’s better to assume the worst and have a professional asbestos inspector and removalist deal with it.