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Welcome to Asbestos Watch Adelaide
Do you need extensive information concerning asbestos materials in Adelaide?
Presented here are a broad range of resources, links, and information for the safe and secure handling of asbestos-containing material in Adelaide region.
Table of contents:
- What is asbestos?
- Types of asbestos
- Why is asbestos dangerous?
- Asbestos cases in South Australia
- Asbestos problems in the Greater Adelaide Region
- Suspected materials containing asbestos
- Where you can find asbestos in your house or property?
- Asbestos regulations in Adelaide, South Australia
- What should I do if I encounter asbestos on my property?
- Transfer stations and Authorized Asbestos Landfill in Adelaide
- Who do I contact for further information concerning asbestos in Adelaide?
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the generic name for naturally occurring silicate mineral fibres. Asbestos is a multipurpose and durable material. Many people utilized this material due to its abilities and qualities. It’s able to withstand heat and has many other functions, such as insulating properties, chemical resistance, and its fire and water resistant qualities. This material commonly used in building construction materials for residential premises and also for other 3.000 commercial products.
You may see the utilization of this fiber substance ranging from cement compounds, ceiling materials, floor tiles roofing shingles, textile products, to automotive parts. As has been said before, asbestos consists of many desirable abilities. This is why this substance was widely manufactured and mined in Australia.
As a result of the broad employment and application of asbestos fibers, many industrial and residential buildings still have this hazardous material in the structure.
Types of asbestos
Asbestos materials are composed of different types of fiber substance.
There are two types of commercial asbestos products. They are commonly known as:
1. Friable, Friable is the kind of asbestos-containing material (ACM) that is known to crumbles or breaks easily. This material holds high level of fiber substance and is recognized as the dangerous kind of asbestos materials. It’s because once the ACM is broken or damaged, the material will discharge tiny fibers and contaminates the surrounding environment, which poses a higher risk to our health.
Examples of material containing friable asbestos as follows:
- Sound proofing and insulation,
- The backing of sheet vinyl,
- Thermal lagging, such as pipe insulation,
- Linoleum floor coverings,
- The lining on hot water systems or some old domestic heaters, pipe lagging, and stoves
To remove friable asbestos material, you must contact an ‘A’ class licensed contractor only.
2. Non-friable (bonded)Bonded or non-friable material is the type of ACMs that is firmly covered and bonded to cement or another hardening material. This kind of material consists of around 15% of fiber element and poses a lower risk to our health. Due to its nature, bonded material does not easily go airborne.
You may find bonded material in these following products:
- Water drainage and flue pipes,
- Flat (fibro),
- Vinyl flooring,
- Corrugated or compressed asbestos-cement (A-C) sheeting,
- Textured paint, and
- Floor tiles.
A ‘B’ class licensed is able to help you to manage bonded asbestos materials.
Basically, both friable and non-friable ACMs pose a significant health risk. These following conditions are potential health risks that you may not realize:
- Weathering of asbestos materials,
- The presence of damaged ACM,
- Ambient levels of asbestos in the surrounding area,
- Removal of ACMs,
- Demolition of asbestos materials,
- Maintenance work involving asbestos.
In compliance with South Australia regulations, before removing asbestos material from your property, you must decide the right contractor to do it.
Further information on regulations of asbestos contractor, you may check your local government website: www.asbestos.sa.gov.au
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is material that is not basically harmful. This material becomes toxic when it releases its tiny fibre through the air, where it can be breathed or ingested. Inhalation and ingestion are the most common pathways for fibers to enter the human’s body. The existence of these tiny fibers in our body can cause many health problems.
Here are the possibilities of fiber inhalation that you may experience:
- During the removal work or any jobs associated with asbestos,
- In the same area with others who work with the fiber substance,
- In the mining operation and surrounding areas,
- In homes and properties where asbestos is disturbed due to the demolition or renovation activities.
Though, ingestion is a less crucial way of asbestos fiber exposure. If we inhale or ingest the fibers, our body is able to expel the materials through our nature defenses. But, some of the fibers may still reach deep to our lungs.
Consequently, you MUST be aware of the material containing asbestos in your building or property. You have to monitor and examine the condition of your asbestos-containing material (ACM) frequently. You need to confirm and determine whether the ACM is in good shape or not. If it’s damaged, broken or deteriorated, then you must remove and take further actions towards the material. It’s because a crack (e.g., damaged, broken, deteriorated) on the asbestos products are likely to cause the generation of hazardous fibers to the surrounding environment.
A broken or damaged asbestos products are a potential threat to the health of your family and yourself. As has been said before, exposure to asbestos fibers is able to cause asbestos-related illnesses, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and malignant mesothelioma.
Asbestos cases in South Australia
Australia is one of the countries that has the highest mesothelioma cases over the past couple decades. Since the late 1990’s, nearly 600 people a year have been identified and diagnosed with mesothelioma in Australia.
The total number of new mesothelioma cases in Australia between 1982 and 2009 is 11,667 
Based on the research of Australian Mesothelioma Registry in 2012, the rate of mesothelioma sufferers in the Australia population was 2.4 per 10.000 or in other words, there were 2.4 cases for every 100.000 people in 2012 
High incidence rates of mesothelioma in Australia matches with the country’s vast history of asbestos usage. It’s known that Australia was one of the countries that had the highest per capita rate of asbestos utilization, particularly from the 1950s to the 1970s,
Asbestosis was the underlying cause of 125 deaths in 2011
Based on the research, asbestosis was reported as one of the many reasons of death in 355 cases and the underlying cause of death in around one-third (125) of those cases. Thus, we can outline the common characteristic of asbestosis which it may trigger other serious conditions. 
Asbestos problems in the Greater Adelaide Region
1. Asbestos Roof
Asbestos roofing material is one of the biggest concerns in Australia. In Adelaide, there are 499 residential properties and around 42 commercial buildings that still utilize this dangerous material. This is based on the GRP research that is conducted by our team. You can see the result on our GRP research here https://www.asbestoswatch.com.au/resources/
One of the reasons why having asbestos roof need your attention is due to the extreme weather patterns in Australia, particularly in the greater Brisbane and Sydney region. These regions are the areas where they have a humid subtropical climate. Extreme weather patterns such as hailstones, thunderstorms, tornado, torrential rain, and destructive winds are constant happened over these regions.
Reports and links that show the extreme weather conditions in Adelaide areas that may destroy your roof and property;
- Adelaide weather: SA braces for strongest winds to hit in 50 years
Massive storm smashes Adelaide and South Australia
- Further information on how to manage asbestos roof material on your property; http://www.asbestos.sa.gov.au/home.html#roofing
2. Imported asbestos products
Imported asbestos products are a growing concern in Adelaide. Authorities discovered some buildings that are contaminated with fiber substance and are monitoring around 11 buildings that may contain this dangerous material in South Australia.
Here are some reports on the growing concern of imported asbestos products;
- Dozens of Australian building sites contaminated by illegal Chinese asbestos imports, authorities say
Safe Work SA investigating discovery of asbestos fibres in Nyrstar smelter redevelopment
Second Adelaide Company under investigation for importing products containing asbestos
Suspected materials containing asbestos
- Asbestos-cement products; cement pipes, cement wallboard, cement siding,
- Floor tiles; asphalt floor tile, vinyl floor tile, vinyl sheet flooring, flooring backing,
- Roofing; roofing felt, roofing shingles, roll roofing, roof patching cement.
- High temperature gaskets
- Fireproofing; acoustical plaster, decorative plaster, textured paints / coatings, fire blankets, fire curtains, fire doors.
- Insulation; Spray-applied insulation, blown-in insulation, block insulation, boiler insulation, breaching insulation, blown-in insulation, electrical wiring insulation.
- Construction Mastics (carpet, floor and ceiling tile, etc)
Where you can find asbestos in your house or property
Due to the extensive utilization of asbestos materials, you may find asbestos element in your property. Approximately one-third of all homes built in Australia contain asbestos products 
Mostly, this fiber substance utilized as part of construction material. That’s why asbestos cement is the most common material employed in Australian residential properties. Asbestos was applied on the construction material due to its desirable functions, such as help increasing building durability, insulation properties, and fire resistance.
Therefore, if you live in Australia, particularly in Adelaide area, you are encouraged to check the presence of asbestos in your property.
You may use this guidance to help you determine asbestos-containing materials in your house, building, or property.
Further information on how to safely asbestos from your house or property; http://www.asbestos.sa.gov.au/remove_homes.html
Asbestos Regulations in Adelaide, South Australia
If you need information on how to safely remove asbestos materials, you need to know about two important Codes of Practice. These Codes of Practice will accommodate you with guidance and practical information on how to comply with the requirements of the asbestos regulations.
Here are the links that you may access;
- Code of Practice – How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace – https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/uploaded_files/CoPManageControlAsbestosWorkplace.pdf
- Code of Practice – How to Safely Remove Asbestos – https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/uploaded_files/CoPSafelyRemoveAsbestos.pdf
Air monitoring is one of many procedures that are required for an asbestos removal work in South Adelaide, unlike in other regions. Based on the asbestos regulations in South Australia, both Class ‘A’ and Class ‘B’ asbestos removal work will require air monitoring procedures.
Further information on asbestos regulations in South Australia, you may visit; http://www.asbestos.sa.gov.au/law.html
What should I do if I encounter asbestos on my property?
If you accidentally encounter asbestos materials in your house or property, the safest way is to leave the material undisturbed.
As has been said, asbestos is a dangerous material if it’s damaged. Though, if the ACM in your property is in good shape, it’s better for you to leave it undisturbed. But, you MUST keep in mind to check and monitor your ACM regularly.
Before removing ACM from your property, you must be aware of these points;
- Are you able to remove the material safely and in compliance with the law and regulations in your area?
- Are you capable of meeting all the requirements in removing your ACM?
- Do you have all the supplies and equipment, experience, and skill to operate on the material yourself?
- Will you hire professional support? What’s the requirement in hiring asbestos removal contractor?
- What is the law and regulations you should know before removing asbestos material in your area?
Transfer stations and Authorized Asbestos Landfill in Adelaide
Who do I contact for further information concerning asbestos in Adelaide?
Safe Work SA:
Public Health Issue http://www.health.sa.gov.au/
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012. ACIM (Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality) Books: Mesothelioma. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
 Australian Mesothelioma Registry 2013. 2nd Annual Report Mesothelioma in Australia 2012. New South Wales: Cancer Institute NSW