Sydney has several old and historical buildings. Basically, you will find houses built before the 1970s in the city. But with the old homes comes a silent killer called asbestos. According to an article, there was a union call for increased border screening in Sydney due to the asbestos contamination scare at a major construction company. Additionally, warnings were given regarding the mineral to many Australian homeowners and builders since it can pose a risk. So, if you have a home that is more than 30 years old, you must look for companies that provide services like asbestos removal in Sydney. According to statistics, one in three homes of Australia, including Sydney, consists of asbestos. Furthermore, Australia has the highest death rates in the world due to its exposure. But what exactly is this mineral? Keep reading to learn about it along with the types and health risks.
What is asbestos?
A naturally occurring fibre that was utilised on a large scale in construction and other industries is called asbestos. It was previously used in several construction products in the United States prior to understanding the dangers of this toxic mineral. In case your house was built after the 1990s, it is unlikely that it contains asbestos and its related products.
Where does asbestos come from?
Asbestos is found all across the globe, but the prime exporters are China, Kazakhstan and Russia. This toxic mineral was mined once in North America. You can either find them in large deposits or as contaminants in different minerals such as vermiculite and talc. Many deposits comprise 5 to 6 percent asbestos, whereas a few deposits like the Coalinga deposits in California comprise 50 percent or more asbestos.
What are the types of asbestos?
There are different types of asbestos that come under the serpentine or amphibole mineral families. Keep reading to learn more about the types.
- Chrysolite (White asbestos): One of the most common types of asbestos is chrysolite. The majority of mesothelioma cases occur due to chrysolite. Also, it is contaminated with traces of tremolite and resistant to heat. It is utilised widely for roofing, asphalt, boiler seals, linings and brake pads. You can also find this type of asbestos in plastics, rubber and a few textiles.
- Amosite (Brown asbestos): Amosite is heat resistant and strong. It is commonly used for electrical insulation, gaskets, thermal insulation products, ceiling tiles, cement sheets, and plumbing insulation. Amosite is more dangerous than the other types.
- Crocidolite (Blue asbestos): Due to the thin and brittle fibres of the crocidolite, it is highly hazardous and results in more exposure. It is not used in commercial products, but you can find it in tiles, cement and insulation materials.
- Tremolite: Tremolite fibres are found in paints, sealants, roofing materials and insulation. You can find it in various colours like green, grey and white.
- Actinolite: Actinolite fibres are present in drywall, sealants, paints and cement. They are also commonly found in structural fire-proofing and insulation. They come in various forms and are compact and dense.
- Anthophyllite: Anthophyllite fibres resemble a needle and can be damaging to the lungs when inhaled.
What are the health risks of asbestos?
Inhaling asbestos fibres can result in serious diseases like mesothelioma, pleural thickening, and asbestosis. Hence, it is necessary to contact companies that provide services like asbestos removal in Sydney. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the lining of the lower digestive tract and the lungs. In most cases, this disease is fatal. Pleural thickening is a disease in which the lining of the lungs swells and thickens. If the condition is serious, it can lead to chest pain, discomfort and shortness of breath. Asbestosis involves scarring of the lungs, and severe cases lead to death.
Author: Alison Lurie