What do you do if you find asbestos in your home?

Published 15 Feb 2017

Since 2003, the use of Asbestos has been banned in all applications across Australia. The problem with this is that until that year, it had been used heavily in the country's construction industry. Because of this, older buildings - particularly those constructed before 1980 - may have been built with asbestos-laden materials.

The fact these issues mainly concern older homes makes the issues worse, as dust diseases and cancers like mesothelioma arise after years of sustained exposure. Experienced compensation lawyers can assist in cases where you find asbestos, but what else should you do to minimise risk?

Be aware of the risk

It's important to know when your home or the building you currently reside in was constructed and - if possible - how likely it was that asbestos was used during its construction. In some cases, people who live in houses built with these materials may live without health complications, particularly if the fibres remain undisturbed.

However, a new love of renovation seen across Australia is increasing the risk of people finding asbestos in their homes. The more work that is undertaken on older dwellings, the greater the chances of disturbing resting fibres. According to Roy Morgan Research, the proportion of Australians who work on their own home has risen from 57 per cent in 2013 to 62 per cent in 2016.

Know what to look for

One of the biggest challenges with asbestos stems from that fact that it's not easy to identify on sight. Asbestos Wise said the only way to be completely sure if a found substance is asbestos is to have it analysed by a lab. The organisation advises that renovators who think they have found asbestos should cease all further activity until an accredited agency has confirmed or denied the presence of asbestos.

Understand where it was likely installed

When it was actively used in the construction industry, asbestos had a wide range of applications. Asbestos Wise created a list which reveals the most common uses for the material. For people looking to renovate their dwellings, being aware of the high-risk locations is essential.

Asbestos is commonly found in imitation brick and weatherboard cladding, under vinyl floor tiles and in cement sheeting that often lines walls.

If you've fallen ill due to asbestos exposure, it's important to consult with specialist compensation lawyers. Talk to Gerard Malouf and Partners to book a free consultation.