What is the harm of Asbestos in Your Home?

Homes in Australia built before 1990 could contain asbestos. Why is that so alarming? Asbestos is known to cause various health problems, including mesothelioma and lung cancer. In this article we’ll take a look at what you need to know about asbestos and what to do about it if you find out it is in your home.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a natural silicate mineral that consists of miniscule fibres. When stirred up, they may produce dust particles that contain asbestos fibres. When these dust particles are breathed into the lungs, it heightens the risk of health issues from pleural plaques to mesothelioma.

Asbestos was frequently used in building materials from the 1940s to the late 1990s due to its fire-resistance, efficient insulation, and durability. It is no longer mined in Australia, nor has it been used or imported in Australian products since this discovery.

Asbestos Material Risks

The only time Asbestos poses any risk to one’s health is if the fibres are inhaled. The mere presence of this mineral in home building materials doesn’t pose health risks unless it is broken, disturbed, or deteriorated. Drilling, sanding, or cutting with power tools are potential risks for disturbing asbestos. The only way to know if any building materials in your home contain asbestos is through professional testing.  Any household material that hasn’t been tested should be handled as if it does contain asbestos.

Asbestos Health Risks

People who develop asbestos-related health issues are usually those who have worked around materials that contain a lot of asbestos. Construction workers who haven’t participated in safety practices probably encountered higher than normal levels of asbestos fibres on the job.  Not only might they have inhaled asbestos, but they could have also carried it home on their clothing, hair, and skin, possibly exposing their family to the fibres.

Diseases Associated with Asbestos Exposure

  • Asbestosis is a disease that causes progressive scar tissue in the lungs, which hinders breathing.
  • Pleural plaques is a health condition that presents with thick patches of scar tissue in the lining of the lungs.
  • Lung cancer occurs over decades after being exposed to asbestos. People with asbestosis and those who smoke are at higher risk of lung cancer.
  • Mesothelioma is a lung cancer that affects the lining of the lungs (the pleura), the diaphragm, and chest wall. Like lung cancer, mesothelioma develops over decades from exposure.

Asbestos Around the Home

Asbestos may be found in some of these materials:

  • Fibre cement cladding and weatherboards
  • Flexible building boards
  • Artificial brick cladding
  • Flue pipes
  • Corrugated cement roofing
  • Floor tiles
  • Textured paint
  • Insulation

Asbestos is also found in automotive parts up until 2004. Take care if you change your brakes, gaskets, or clutches and check the purchase date to be safe.

WARNING: Do not try to remove household or automotive materials if they have not been tested. The only way to be sure your household building materials are asbestos-free is to have them checked by professionals.

If you are renovating, decorating, or adding an extension to your home that was built before 1990, contact HouseCheck NSW for an asbestos report for your home here: https://www.housechecknsw.com.au/contact-us/. We will tell you if and where asbestos is present, and how to have it removed professionally.

5 Tips to Avoid a Drowning in Your Swimming Pool

Children are drawn to water, especially toddlers. Whether it’s the toilet, bathtub, swimming pool, puddles, buckets of water, or something else, their curiosity drives them to explore.

Child safety is important in every circumstance, and it rises to a new level when it comes to pool safety. Here are five tips to help you protect your child and prevent drowning.

  1. Supervise

It only takes a second or two for a child to get themselves into a troubling situation like falling or getting into the water when you’re not looking. Constant adult supervision is crucial and key to preventing a drowning. Never leave your child alone or with another child around the pool.

Social gatherings can get hectic, but avoid getting distracted and maintain contact with your child when they are around a swimming pool or the water. Adults can take turns at social gatherings watching kids. Avoid letting an adult who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol watch your kids around the pool.

  1. Eliminate Hazards

What is a drowning hazard? Buckets of water, a full bathtub, or any container large enough for a child to get into or stick their head into is a drowning hazard. Always empty your bathtub when it’s not in use and never leave buckets or containers of water laying around inside or outside the house.

  1. Water Awareness
  • Swimming Lessons – Children should be taught how to respect the water and to swim from an early age. Children love to swim, so early swimming lessons are a good start, but swimming lessons alone don’t prevent drowning.
  • Flotation Aids – These are good tools to use to help them learn to swim, but you shouldn’t rely on them to prevent drowning.
  • Remove Toys – Don’t leave toys in the water as that is a temptation most young children cannot resist. They want to go get that toy no matter where it is.
  • Cover Drains – Don’t let children play around pool or spa drains because the suction of these drains could entrap their hair, arm, leg, or clothing, which can result in injury or drowning. Cover pool and spa drains with proper drain covers and consider having multiple drains installed to reduce the suction power.
  1. Learn CPR

Preventative measures are important to your plan to prevent drowning. To go an extra step, learning CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) and keeping your training regularly updated will save a life. In an emergency, CPR could be the difference between life and death.

  1. Install a Pool Fence

Restricting access to a swimming pool with a fence or border is a NSW regulation and therefore a mandatory measure when you have a pool that meets certain specifications.

If you’re in doubt, get a pool certification from HouseCheck NSW professionals to ensure you are taking all the right measures to prevent a drowning in your pool.

NSW requires that your pool meets the Australian Standard for pool fencing:

  • It must be at least 1200mm tall.
  • Gaps in slatted fences should be no wider than 100mm.
  • The fence must be in good repair and well-maintained.

These are the basic regulations, but there are others required for fencing your pool in NSW so that you are in compliance.

These five tips can prevent a drowning in your pool, at the beach, inside your home, or at someone else’s home. They are crucial to the safety and wellbeing of children when they are around water.

If you have a swimming pool and you’re not sure if it’s safe and regulation-compliant, contact HouseCheck NSW for a free quote here: https://www.housechecknsw.com.au/contact-us/ .