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3 Tips to Help You Know How to Test for Asbestos

It is estimated that 1 out of 3 house in Sydney contains dangerous asbestos fibres. Buildings that were built before the 1980s will be highly likely to have asbestos-containing material (ACM).

You might not be aware that you inhaled an enormous amount of fibres because ACM already existed in your building for years. It is not possible to identify the presence of asbestos by visual inspection. The only way to be sure about the presence of ACM in your building is to get it tested.

Know different types of asbestos

When you suspect that material in your house may be an ACM, you need to get it tested as soon as possible. Materials at your property may contain asbestos whether friable (Class A) or non-friable (Class B).

  • Friable asbestos is most commonly found at the ground level, just beneath your floor. Friable asbestos is considered dangerous since it can release fibres unexpectedly.
  • While non-friable asbestos can be found in circular pipes or corrugated roofs within your building.

tips to help you how to test asbestos

Know when to test for asbestos

Briefly, you have to do asbestos testing if these two situations happen to you:

  • You have a renovation or demolition plan, and the Sydney city council is asking for an asbestos survey result.
  • You believe that a material in your house has asbestos fibres.

Know how to do it safely

Under these circumstances, the only way to be 100% sure that there is an asbestos material in your building is by getting it tested by National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratories. They can give you advice on how to correctly take a sample and send it to them.

The cost for testing in an accredited laboratory is approximate $100 until $150 for one sample.

Otherwise, You are liable to take a sample from a suspected material by yourself. But always keep in mind that working with asbestos materials can risk your health, also your family!

Consider the following safety steps to test for asbestos safely:

  • Prepare a P2 respirator, safety goggles, gloves, spray bottle, P2 trash bags and zip lock, pliers, drop sheet, and other safety equipment and outfit needed.
  • Turn off any air con or fan to prevent asbestos fibres becoming airborne.
  • Put on your safety gear and equipment.
  • Dampen the area and the suspected materials in which the sample is going to be taken. Use water to dampen them and a low-pressure spray bottle!
  • Take the sample carefully with a cutter. If there is a loose part, use pliers to pull it carefully.
  • The size of the sample should be around the same size as a 50 cent coin. You need about a 100 gr of a sample for laboratory analysis.
  • Put the taken samples in a zip lock bag and double it. Give a label of which part of the building is it taken from.
  • Cover the area where the sample was taken with an adhesive tape or PVA glue.
  • Wipe and clean the sampling area, tools, and equipment with a wet cloth.
  • Put all contaminated tools and safety gear in a zip lock bag and double the bag carefully.
  • Important: Dispose of the waste in a legal waste facility.

You can also contact a competent person or asbestos consultant for sampling and testing purposes. Before contacting an asbestos consultant, do not forget to check his work record.

It is important to check the type of license that the contractor has:

  • An asbestos consultant that has a Class-A license is allowed to handle both friable and non-friable asbestos.
  • While class-B license holder is only allowed to handle non-friable asbestos.

When you contact an asbestos consultant, you should provide the photos of the place where the sample is taken so can ask for an estimated quote.

References:

  1. www.deir.qld.gov.au
  2. www.slh.wisc.edu

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