Asbestos – Commonplace yet Deadly Hazardous. When to be Wary of Asbestos

Asbestos – Commonplace yet Deadly Hazardous. When to be Wary of Asbestos

Be Wary of Asbestos After Natural Disasters

Did you know that the negative effects of asbestos can be a serious danger after natural disasters like floods and storms?

Asbestos is a group of mineral fibres that occur naturally. Its versatility, strength, fire resistance and insulating ability make it an attractive material for use in many industries, with over 3000 applications. In Australia, about one third of all homes built contain asbestos products, including roof sheeting, guttering, fencing, telecommunications pits and carpet underlays, despite the fact that it has deadly effects on our health.

As a carcinogen, the inhalation of asbestos fibres has been associated with multiple diseases, including lung cancer and pleural disease. Though some people are more susceptible to these diseases, also known as Asbestos Related Diseases (ARD), it is still unknown as to why others, despite regular exposure to asbestos, do not contract them.

Natural disasters such as floods, storms and even fires can expose asbestos in our homes and business premises, and have serious negative effects on our health. Most recently, Sydney’s southern suburbs cyclone and the Victorian bushfires have damaged homes which contained asbestos products, releasing them in to the atmosphere. The safe removal and disposal of such property is integral, however should be left to professionals, as each state has their own strict safety guidelines and regulations.

During periods when storms are rife, be wary of damage to your property, especially as it is so common for many homes & commercial buildings to have been built with asbestos products. Contact your local council and state emergency services immediately, if your property has been damaged by a natural disaster.

Be Wary of Asbestos when Demolishing, Transporting or Undertaking Earthmoving

Most builders and tradies are aware of the real and life threatening carcinogenic effects of Asbestos. The rise of home renovators has put many do-it-yourself’ers at risk of asbestos exposure.

Asbestos-containing materials were commonly used in buildings before the mid-1980s. As a general rule if your house was built or renovated:

  • before the mid-1980s – it is highly likely that it has asbestos-containing products
  • between the mid-1980s and 1990 – it is likely that it has asbestos-containing products
  • after 1990 – it is unlikely that it has asbestos-containing products.


If you have to work with asbestos, such as removing, drilling, cutting or cleaning, you need to understand the legal requirements and how to start planning the work. Visit for more advice.

On February 15 2016, The Australian published an article looking into how Cheap Chinese building products may put tradesmen at risk of asbestos-related diseases. This shows the dangers associated with asbestos are not only confined to older-style building.

Lewis Insurance Services offers a comprehensive Earthmoving & Demolition Insurance package that covers asbestos liability, whether you are earthmoving, demolishing or transporting. Contact Lewis Insurance Services on 07 3217 9015 or send us an email at to find out more.


This information and any accompanying material does not consider your personal circumstances as it is of a general nature only. You should not act on the information provided without first obtaining professional financial advice specific to your circumstances and considering the Product Disclosure Statement.