Asbestos Facts

  • Around 170 people die each year in New Zealand from asbestos-related diseases.
  • Exposure to asbestos dust can cause serious health issues including various forms of cancer such as lung, larynx, and ovarian cancers.
  • To put it into some form of perspective, multiple asbestos fibres are finer than one human hair and because it is so fine, it can stay in the air for a long time before settling.
  • Asbestos in a good condition and left undisturbed is unlikely to pose a health risk and doesn’t need to be removed. 
  • There is no safe level for asbestos exposure, but if proper precautions are taken, the health risks are relatively low.
  • If asbestos is present NEVER cut it, drill it, sand it, scrape it, scrub it, waterblast it, or demolish it, unless you have had asbestos awareness training.   
  • If any asbestos is removed, always dispose of it correctly - NEVER dump it or put it out with other building or residential rubbish.
  • If you accidentally damage or uncover asbestos - stop work immediately, keep people away, minimise the spread of contamination and get advice on what to do next.
  • Never use high pressure water spray, compressed air or power tools on asbestos or suspected asbestos materials. 
  • Always wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with asbestos materials.
  • Asbestos removal under 10 square metres should be done by a competent person who has had appropriate asbestos awareness training. 
  • All asbestos removal work over 10 square metres must be done by either a Class A or Class B licensed company.
  • All friable asbestos must be removed by a Class A licensed asbestos removalist.
  • Dealing with asbestos is important and serious - but is manageable and should not be overwhelming.
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