Published: 27th May

How Asbestos Exposure Can Affect Your Health

Remember the popcorn ceilings that were popular in the early ‘70s? These ceilings notoriously contain a fibrous substance resistant to chemicals and heat. When renovating an old house, risks of asbestos is always high for tradesmen. According to the Asbestos Disease Foundation of Australia (ADFA), since 2000, more workers have died from asbestos diseases than any workplace injury.  Asbestos exposure is alarmingly threatening and can pose serious health hazards.



When asbestos-containing materials such as ceilings, tiles, and roofs are disturbed, the fibres can immediately break down into tiny particles too small to be even noticed by the naked eye. These particles become airborne and can be inhaled by the lungs. As these particles are inhaled, they can be lodged into our delicate lung tissues and can cause several respiratory diseases.  


Asbestos Exposure: What can it do?  

Acquiring any asbestos disease depends on several factors:   

  • Intensity of exposure  
  • Period of exposure  
  • Frequency of exposure  
  • History of breathing conditions   

There is a greater chance of getting asbestos-related diseases if you’ve been exposed to asbestos for an extensive period. Individuals who develop such conditions usually show no symptoms of illness for as long as 10 to 40 years after the initial exposure.


Is the risk potent?  

Not all individuals who have been exposed to asbestos develop diseases related to their exposure. The risk varies with the extent and length of exposure and the type of industry. For example, industries in which the asbestos is bonded into finished products, such as walls and tiles, pose a little health risk. Industries in which asbestos is released into the air, such as from sawing or drilling activities, pose a greater risk.


Health Risks   

With longer exposures to this hazardous mineral, you may increase the chance of developing the following diseases and condition:  

Lung cancer  

Smokers who have been exposed to asbestos have a higher risk of getting lung cancer. A malignant tumour invades and blocks the lung’s passageway, making it rather difficult to breathe.  


This is an irreversible condition caused by asbestos. It results in permanent lung damage, shortness of breath and severe coughing. Since there is no way to heal from asbestosis, doctors prescribe medicines to alleviate the symptoms.   


This is a relatively rare cancer that affects the chest and abdominal linings. People who have acquired this kind of disease have been exposed to asbestos for long periods. Symptoms can even take up to 2 decades for one to notice.  

Learn more about Mesothelioma here.

Cancers involving the kidney, larynx oropharynx  

Developing severe pulmonary and respiratory diseases can also be possible because of asbestos exposure. When our lungs cannot function properly, most of our body systems are compromised. This results in being cancer-prone.   

Pleural plaques  

These are non-cancerous scarring of the lung lining. Often, people suffering from this do not show any obvious symptoms.   


Banning Asbestos   

Asbestos has been a staple material for homes and buildings across the world. It is relatively cheap and durable but not for long.   After World War II, roughly a hundred thousand houses were built using asbestos cement. The asbestos fibres were used since they provided the strength without the added weight. Though it came with great benefits, asbestos has not been used in domestic building materials since the ‘80s and was later banned in Australia last 31 December 2003 because of its adverse health risks.  

To date, it is illegal to import, store, supply, sell, install, use, or re-use asbestos-containing materials.  

Most people who have asbestos-related illnesses have had regular exposure to asbestos, typically through jobs where they’ve worked directly with the material.  


Don’t Risk it, Call an Expert Asbestos Removalist Now.  

Asbestos is a dangerous substance, even more, dangerous when you remove it yourself. When you are planning to get a house renovation or demolition, have your house checked for asbestos and hire only legitimate asbestos removalists like AW Removals.  

Asbestos Removed makes getting rid of asbestos safe for everyone. We take safety very seriously. Call us at 03 9798 3891 or email us at to request a free quote.