Asbestos has been used in various insulation products due to its high heat resistance and has been utilised in the building trade, especially in Brisbane. Asbestos-containing material has been installed in our homes, schools, buildings, and other industrial structures. While asbestos is useful, when an asbestos-containing material has been damaged, it will release asbestos fibres that can cause health issues such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Asbestos testing Brisbane is important to detect the presence, type, and abundance of asbestos in the area and to prevent further health issues related to asbestos.
Asbestos testing is done by a certified asbestos inspector. It is recommended to hire a licenced asbestos abatement company to cheque for asbestos in properties but expect that the cost would be expensive. If you are on a tight budget, you can also purchase asbestos testing kits and do it yourself than directly hiring a company. Using testing kits is also a good way to start determining the presence of asbestos fibres in households and to know if hiring an asbestos abatement company is necessary.
If there is suspected asbestos-containing material, the most important thing to do is to not come in contact with it, keep children out of the area, limit the activities in that area, and call a licenced asbestos abatement company. Avoid sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting suspected asbestos litter, and do not remove suspected asbestos material. Homeowners who decide to do asbestos testing on their own should know where to test for asbestos. Asbestos can be found in many places in a household, from the basement to the attic. Listed below are the products and places where asbestos should be tested.
Floor tiles, textiles, and composites
Sheet vinyl flooring
Ceiling cavities as insulation
Wallboard joint compound
Heating pipe insulation wrap
Exterior cement tile siding
Asbestos insulating board
Loose asbestos found in the ceiling or floor cavity
Since asbestos is hazardous to the health, it is important to do asbestos testing especially for properties that are using a do it yourself re modelling approach, disturbed building structures due to natural or man-made disasters, structures built way back and earlier 1980s, and the presence of any decay, tattered or damaged asbestos-containing materials in a building. When preparing for asbestos testing, it is also essential to know all relevant information about the structure that needs to be inspected to determine whether there is existing asbestos. To gather the information, ask the previous owners or tenants of the building or check with the suppliers or repairers of equipment if it is available talk to the facilities management, and look if there are any records of previous asbestos work on the premises. The designer and architect of the building can also be contacted for more information on the structure.
When testing for suspected asbestos-containing material on the premises, it should be done outright and with safety precautions to take samples for analysis. Upon testing, you should ensure your safety especially if you are doing all the work on your own by using disposable gloves and coveralls, safety glasses, boot covers, and a respirator equipped with high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters. If you decide to do asbestos testing, keep in mind to never tear apart any suspected asbestos-containing material. By damaging it, the object will release asbestos fibres and go airborne. Since asbestos is dangerous, any undisturbed asbestos-containing material should be left alone. When collecting asbestos samples, only take the fallen debris for analysis.
Two types of samples can be taken for analysis: 1) friable material and 2) dust samples.
Friable materials are solid and crumbly. It is less expensive especially if one is doing a do-it-yourself asbestos testing. When collecting friable materials, the first thing to do is to dampen the sample by misting it with water and mixing it with liquid dishwashing detergent. Afterwards, place the sample in a self-sealing polythene bag and put it in another polythene bag. Once you collected the samples, label each sample bag identifying the structure, the date the samples were collected, the specific location of the sample in the structure, and who obtained the sample. Upon completing the collection of samples, send it to an accredited asbestos laboratory to be analysed.
Collecting dust samples is more complicated and it is advisable to call a licenced asbestos inspector to do the job. Collecting dust samples requires the use of specialised equipment such as respiratory protection. The cost of testing is also more expensive than testing friable materials. Testing asbestos dust samples requires the use of an electron microscope, therefore the cost of testing is three times higher than standard asbestos testing.
Homeowners who decide to do asbestos testing on their own should follow the safety procedures in the handling of suspected bulk samples. Never neglect your safety and underestimate the hazards of asbestos. Make sure to follow all the use of safety tools that are required to carry out asbestos testing.
It is vital to prepare the site for sampling before beginning testing by turning off the electrical system and all heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning to lessen the spread of released fibres. Seal off the opening with plastic sheeting and duct tape, cover areas that are not to be tested, use a plastic sheet on the floor where the sample will be collected, clean the work area using a damp paper towel or damp disposable cloth, clean the area by using HEPA vacuum and dispose properly of all materials that have been used to carry out the asbestos testing. Contact the local municipality on how and where to dispose of asbestos-containing waste to regulate the spread of it. Clothes that have been used to do the sampling should be washed separately and workers who are involved in asbestos testing should shower after the work has been completed.
Even if homeowners can do the asbestos testing by themselves, hiring a licenced asbestos inspector is highly recommended. Contact on disturbed asbestos-containing material may post health and safety concerns. It may be expensive but the benefits of doing asbestos testing outweigh the cost. Letting the professionals do their work is much better as they are more prepared, knowledgeable, and have complete equipment to carry out the asbestos testing. Brisbane citizens and residents are encouraged to hire a professional in asbestos testing. Keep in mind that asbestos is a deadly material and the safety of the community always comes first.