COVID-19 and Asbestos Removal
While asbestos removal in Adelaide has always been considered a risky task, it has become even more precarious given the added dangers of the pandemic. While here in Adelaide, we are lucky to have an almost normal living and working environment compared to other nations, there are still precautions to ensure a safe environment that need to be followed.
When the COVID-19 pandemic landed in Australia, it changed the way most industries operate and in some cases prevented some businesses from operating during lockdowns. Here in Adelaide, we were fortunate to avoid any long-term lockdowns or major professional restrictions seen in other states and being able to conduct business in a semi-regular manner. One thing that was a big impact on asbestos-related industries was the sudden lack of personal protection equipment (PPE) availability due to demand by the general public.
Asbestos was mined and used in Australia for a large number of items in Australia. Especially in building materials such as ceramic tiles, masonry and insulation. Before the 1980s almost all Australian homes had asbestos as it was seen as a great fireproof and insulating material. Once it was discovered that exposure to asbestos was linked directly to serious health issues such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, the government placed a ban on the use of the material. Unfortunately, most homes built before the 1980s including those found in communities around Adelaide can still be full of the dangerous material.
If you buy a house or business in Adelaide and inspections reveal asbestos present, it is imperative that an abatement professional is consulted to help guide and deliver the best course of action. In some cases, if the product or material is not damaged, it could be better to leave the material be. If the material is damaged, however, there’s a risk of asbestos breaking off and becoming airborne, immediate action should be taken. In some cases, it can be encapsulated preventing any spread and left in its place, while the last resort is having it removed and disposed of properly.
One of the most crucial supplies needed when undergoing any asbestos-related activities is PPE since it protects those near the material from breathing it in and keeping them well away from the material.
However, as mentioned above there has been widespread shortages of industry-grade PPE as the general public has increased demands for protection against COVID-19. It is imperative that if you are unable to acquire proper PPE and your employer is unable to provide the proper equipment do not attempt to remove or be near any asbestos. If safeguards are not in place and followed, there could be severe health consequences. Asbestos is the only cause of mesothelioma cancer. This cancer takes over 10+ years to develop and once symptoms are visible it’s generally too late to recover from. Even though COVID-19 is a serious threat to health, the risks from asbestos exposure should be considered as well.
If you are a homeowner here in Adelaide and have no access to any abatement professionals then you’re unable to leave your home. It’s highly recommended to avoid the material until a professional is able to perform an assessment and draft a removal plan. With many schools or large scale buildings closed or at reduced capacity, many abatement professionals will be conducting large scale removal operations to prevent any future risk.
Truly being able to enjoy your community and home requires proper safety and inspections for your health. By understanding the risks posed by asbestos and the current situations that can impact the removal process, you are better prepared if you encounter asbestos in your living or workspace. COVID-19 unfortunately isn’t the only risk to your respiratory system, ensuring your safety from asbestos exposure is another way to protect yourself and your loved ones.