A Deadly View: Why Your Old Windows May Contain Asbestos


Asbestos was once prized for its strength and resistance to fire and heat. Because of this, Australian homes built before 1990 may contain asbestos. Some of the most common places where asbestos can be found include insulation, walls and roofing. However, less obvious locations, such as your windows, may also contain asbestos.

Asbestos Was Once Put in Window Putty

Modern window putty is composed of linseed oil and powdered calcium. Neither of these compounds is dangerous to human health. As such, modern windows pose no risk. However, if your home and its windows were built before 1990, your windows may contain asbestos.

In the eighties, asbestos was added to window putty for its durability and fire resistance. By the time experts realized the danger of asbestos, this dangerous material had already been used in the construction of houses and many other types of buildings in Australia.

But just how deadly is putty that contains asbestos?

Intact Window Putty is Low Risk

Asbestos is at its most deadly when it becomes airborne. In this form, the toxic fibres can easily find their way into human lungs, leading to mesothelioma or lung-lining cancer. Even a few hours of exposure to airborne asbestos can trigger health issues later in life.

Fortunately, intact putty is much less of a risk. Since the dangerous material is sealed in the solid putty lining a window, unless it is severely damaged, the risk of breathing in asbestos fibres is low.

Damaged Putty Could be Deadly

Over time, putty can become brittle and weak. Where asbestos is concerned, this is a serious health risk. If your windows are old and the putty is beginning to crumble, you should seek out an asbestos removal service in your area. Do not attempt to remove the putty yourself as you may inadvertently stir up dust while doing so.

Moreover, if you are planning to renovate your home, you should ensure that your windows are free of asbestos. A good place to start is to find out exactly when your home was built. From there, you need to find out if the windows have been replaced or not. If you are unsure, an asbestos removal expert can examine your windows for you.

Once they determine that asbestos is present, they can then remove it safely so you can carry out renovations or replace the windows without risk to your health. No matter how quaint your windows, they may hide a deadly secret.


4 January 2019

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