Why asbestos is often only found in emergencies

February 15, 2024

Asbestos exposure often becomes a problem after an emergency in New Zealand. Here’s why these scenarios are so common, and what you can do about it.

It’s not uncommon to check the news in New Zealand and hear about a fire or other emergency that has caused huge damage to a property, only for that damage to expose asbestos to anyone on site.

For example, when buildings at an Auckland school caught fire in November of last year, the entire school had to close down due to the risk of asbestos.

So why is it so common for asbestos to become an issue after a fire, earthquake, or other disaster?

Why asbestos becomes a major risk following emergencies

Asbestos is quite common in older New Zealand homes and buildings, as it was widely used in various building materials throughout the late 20th century. Even though it has long been banned, there are still countless properties across the country that have asbestos in them.

The good news is that if the asbestos is in materials that are in good condition and left alone (not drilled or cut into etc), it is unlikely to cause harm.

However, emergencies disturb asbestos-containing materials often. Whether it’s a fire, an earthquake, or even a tree falling onto a roof, these kinds of events can ‘disturb’ the asbestos and release miniscule asbestos fibres into the air. Once inhaled, these asbestos fibres can lead to cancer.

Therefore, it’s not the emergency itself that’s the problem – it’s the disturbance that exposes asbestos to everyone in the vicinity.

Removing asbestos before it can pose a threat

People will test their property for asbestos (it’s very likely if your property was built or renovated prior to the 1980s), and get asbestos removed for a variety of reasons.

One of the most important is if the asbestos-containing materials are degrading due to time, wear and tear. This means the asbestos may be a genuine and immediate threat to your health.

Others will seek asbestos removal in preparation for maintenance, renovations, or even demolitions, all of which can expose asbestos containing materials.

And in some cases, homeowners, business owners, and property managers may prefer to seek asbestos removal as a precaution. This can ensure that even if there is an accident or an emergency, there won’t be any concerns about asbestos exposure risk on top of everything else.

Asbestos removal in Wellington and surrounding areas

PRO Environmental Services offers reliable and efficient asbestos removal in Wellington and the surrounding areas. We are a Class A asbestos removalist, which means we are certified to remove both friable and non-friable types of asbestos.

We also offer emergency asbestos removal if you need immediate assistance following an unforeseen event.

Contact us today for a free, no obligation quote for peace of mind when it comes to asbestos on your property.