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Asbestos Inspection for Removal in South Africa
Lurking in many buildings, the safe removal and disposal of asbestos is a must. But how do you spot it, and what do you do with it
once it's found?
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is made up of long, thin fibrous crystals. It is a naturally occurring
silicate mineral that was used extensively in homes, offices, garages and other buildings during the 1950s to the mid-1980s primarily
because of its resistance to heat, its sound insulation properties and its strength.
Asbestos was used in a great many products and materials. Don't just assume that because your house
pre-dates the 1950's that it won't be in there, too. Renovations done during the 1950's onwards on older houses may well have included
asbestos as a material. And some asbestos products were still on sale in South Africa up until the 1980's.
- Some roofing tiles and shingles
are made of asbestos cement.
- Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their
use was banned in 1980.
- Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
- Older products such as
stove-top pads may have some asbestos compounds.
- Walls and floors around woodburning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard
(stiff grey pasteboard, used for the covers of books), or cement sheets.
- Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing
on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
- Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered
with an asbestos blanket or tape.
- Oil and coal furnaces, electic panel heaters and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.
cement products used roof sheeting, flues and ventilation systems.
- As a underfelt under carpets, in fuse boxes and inside metal cladding.
cement sheets in partition walls, fire-proofing panels, ceiling tiles, panels below windows.
- Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may
have loose fill asbestos as insulation - found in between cavity walls and under floorboards.
Should you go looking for it?
not advisable to go looking for asbestos unless you believe it has been used, and may have perished or be unsafe, because undisturbed
asbestos usually poses no problems. It is often difficult to tell the difference between asbestos insulating board items and non-asbestos
materials, such as wall panels boards, ceiling tiles and plasterboard, which is the major reason why people often donít know they
have been exposed to it.
How do you protect yourself?
Firstly, if you are suspicious that something may be asbestos, simply
donít begin to work on it. Even if you are not suspicious, use protective equipment, including a suitable face mask, worn properly,
when you are tackling demolition jobs. Wear a disposable overall, wash thoroughly and often, particularly your hands and face. Never
sand, drill or saw asbestos materials.
How should you dispose of asbestos?
Never just chuck it in a skip. If it's small
quantities, make sure you double bag debris and dispose of it properly at a municipal tip. Be careful, if large quantities are
involved the South African Department of Labour's Asbestos Regulations (No. 155 of 2002) requires that demolition or removal of asbestos
and asbestos cement materials can only be carried out by an approved asbestos contractor.
From an article by Home-Dzine
identify areas and products in your home that may contain asbestos and report on the condition of the products and whether they
might be a danger to you and your family.
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