The history of asbestos – Its rise and fall in Australia

The history of asbestos begins in Australia in the 1920’s. It was subsequently used in the construction of most houses and buildings up until the late 80’s. For decades it appeared to be the dream building material. Fire retardant, waterproof, strong, and cheap, its potential applications were limitless. Some experts suggest that around 98% of Australian houses built before 1976 contained asbestos.

As concerns about its safe use increased during the late 70’s and early 80’s, alternatives were developed and produced. Construction with asbestos still occurred in Australia until 2003 though, when it was officially banned from use.

History of asbestos

These days, the dangers of asbestos are well documented and understood. However, due to its immense popularity for over fifty years, there are still a staggering amount of homes and buildings in South Australia with asbestos as part of their make-up.

The most popular asbestos material was asbestos cement, which was commonly used in outdoor pipework, roof sheeting and water tanks. But it was also used in roof sheeting materials, and as an additive in vinyl floor tiles, plasterboard, roofing felt, pipe lagging, insulation, textured ceiling coatings, pipework, and many more materials.

The legacy of asbestos has been horrific and deadly illness. Any asbestos fibres breathed into a person’s lungs can cause health conditions such as asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural plaques, pleural thickening, and mesothelioma. Asbestos-related diseases do not discriminate on age, with symptoms taking anywhere between 10 and 50 years to appear.

Every year more than 700 Australians are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Many more are diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses. Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma.

The history of asbestos is not a proud part of Australia’s past. But at AZYTEK, we manage asbestos in a safe and complete manner where it’s tragic legacy can be stopped.

Get in touch

To talk to us about managing asbestos for you, contact us on (08) 7225 0540