In previous articles we have looked at some of the areas in and around your home that may contain asbestos and the importance of having an asbestos inspection for your home. One area during a renovation that is often overlooked by most homeowners and asbestos consultants during an asbestos inspection is the debris that can be located under your house or patio.
Since the sub-floor void is an area that is rarely accessed during an asbestos inspection. Due to the small confined area, it may contain goods stored underneath. When contractors conduct renovations this can become a good spot for the contractors to store their rubbish. This can make an asbestos inspection of the sub floor area more difficult, if not impossible to inspect.
In most instances this debris is well away and mostly inaccessible, however there may be instances where the debris can be quite widespread. The general rule of thumb for asbestos exposure is that the risk is minor unless the material is disturbed and is in a deteriorated state that can release the fibres. It should be inspected and assessed, particularly if you are unsure as to whether the material may contain asbestos. A sample should be sent to a NATA accredited laboratory such as Safe Environments to provide an asbestos testing certificate.
So when can asbestos debris be a concern?
When the suspect material is not localised and rather widespread it can be found in the driveway, on the grass and in your garden beds. This may be an area where inquisitive children can inadvertently cause disturbance to asbestos material. There may be disturbance of the asbestos debris from gardening activities when using lawn mowers and whipper snippers. The disturbance due to asbestos fibres in the debris during these instances may cause a higher risk of potential exposure.
Asbestos Case Study: The Wunderlich Factory
The Herald Sun reported on October 11 2014 that Melbourne residents who lived near a factory have attributed their families deaths with exposure to asbestos found on a nearby factory. It is understood that these people never actually worked in the factory but were exposed as they grew up and played in and around the area where asbestos debris lay.
While this incident and the debris located may have been on a larger scale than what you may find at your home, this is a timely reminder of the dangers that asbestos debris can pose to you and your family’s health. Having an asbestos inspection can help to assess whether there is a significant health risk through the identification and asbestos testing of the debris.
What Can You Do About Asbestos Debris?
Well, if you’re concerned about the asbestos debris at your home, then call the team at Safe Environments who can provide you with the right service to address your needs, whether it be an asbestos inspection or asbestos testing of suspect material, we can assist.
Author: Dennis Clemence
Dennis is a Property Risk Assessor at Safe Environments conducting inspections and assessments of asbestos and hazardous building materials. Dennis completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forensic Science at the University of Western Sydney. An action and initiative driven person Dennis has strong communication skills and has provided his time volunteering at a local Community Legal Centre to assist Solicitors in providing legal advice to clients. He has conducted a toxicological audits based on the GHS and Safe Work Australia advising on the general storage, handling and disposal of the various chemicals.