Friable vs. Non-friable asbestos in critical illness claims

Published 26 Oct 2016

When it comes to asbestos, most Australians are aware of the health implications it can cause. As many people are making critical illness claims, it is hard to miss.

However, many are still unaware of the different types of asbestos that are found in Australian buildings. To help, this article will look at the difference between friable and non-friable asbestos.

Friable and non-friable: Is there a difference?

The legal articulation of the difference between friable and non-friable asbestos can be translated into a dichotomy between dangerous and safe asbestos containing materials. In other words, friable is material that contains asbestos and can be disturbed, pulverised, crumbed or reduced to powder by hand. Non-friable on the other hand cannot be crushed by a person’s hand as it is fused with cement.

Non-friable is perceived as less dangerous because the deadly fibres that comprise asbestos are locked away. Friable products contain loose fibres that can become airborne and inhaled by workers, the public and visitors to the site.

According to the Bernie Batton Foundation, more than 97 per cent of all asbestos containing products were non-friable. Unfortunately, even non-friable products present dangers to workers and other people close by.

Non-friable asbestos has the potential to become friable under the right conditions. Human contact, such as water blasting, chemical treatment and building work can release fibres into the air.

Alongside human actions, weather and other acts of god can transform non-friable products into friable asbestos. Age, weathering, fire damage and even algae attacks can turn non-friable into friable asbestos containing materials.

What to do if you have run into contact with asbestos

Whether it is friable or non-friable, asbestos always has the potential for pain and suffering down the track. If you have encountered or been exposed to asbestos it is essential to talk to a health professional.

After seeking their help, contacting a compensation lawyer can ensure you have access to funds that can be used to cover medical bills. If you would like to know more about the services offered by a compensation lawyer, talk to an expert at Gerard Malouf and Partners Superannuation Lawyers.

With their help you can launch total or permanent disability claims, which can ensure you have the financial backing to take on the health effects of asbestos.

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