Although asbestos was completely banned in 2003, there are still many asbestos-related deaths in Australia and the chance of your children encountering it in their day-to-day lives.
Fortunately, schools and other institutions are mandated by law to either remove asbestos or ensure that children aren’t exposed to it. However, it can still be found in some older homes, especially as insulation, as well as in walls and ceilings. Asbestos in Australia is still a very real problem.
Whether it’s at school, childcare, or even in your own home, there are measures that can be taken to keep your kids safe from asbestos. Of course, consult asbestos removal professionals before undertaking any work on your home, or if you suspect that asbestos may be present and pose a risk to your little ones.
Tips for keeping kids safe from asbestos
- Ensure that your child’s school has been thoroughly checked and deemed to be asbestos-free, or of no risk to students and that the administrators have been regularly following all rules and regulations regarding asbestos
- If the school was built before the 1980s, ask for a list of areas where asbestos is present and ask about the measure being taken for its removal
- Don’t attempt to test for asbestos at home – leave it up to the professionals
- If asbestos is suspected to be present, it’s better to leave it alone until thorough testing can be undertaken by professionals. Sit your kids down and make sure they know not to go near the flagged areas
- Once asbestos has been found on a property, the area must be sealed by a professional and children were forbidden from entering under any circumstances. If adults must enter, the area and surface where asbestos is suspected to be located must be wiped or mopped with a damp cloth to prevent airborne particles
- Prior to any renovation, remodelling or extension to your building or dwelling, the property needs to be inspected by professionals to ensure there is no asbestos to be disturbed. Never disturb older parts of your house without professionals performing a full risk assessment first
- Regularly check areas where asbestos is most likely to exist, such as floor tiles, air conditioning, ceilings, roofing shingles, damaged walls, and pipe insulation. To reduce risk, ensure your children aren’t playing in these areas
- Warn your child about the risks of playing within confined spaces such as roofs, especially if their friends live in older homes
- Make sure your children don’t enter construction sites, as these may contain traces of asbestos, exposure to which can lead to asbestosis
- If your kids are staying with relatives, ensure that their dwelling has been checked for asbestos and deemed safe. This is especially important if they’re staying with older relatives who may inhabit older homes
- Whenever asbestos is handled or removed, this must be undertaken by highly-trained, professional asbestos removalists to ensure appropriate procedures are performed