Are you walking on asbestos? Chances are that if your carpet is over 40 years old, the underlay may contain traces of asbestos as discovered in a Perth home recently by the WA Health Department. The underlay was probably recycled hessian from bags used to transport asbestos. This was quite common for carpet underlay in the 60s and early 70s.
The Department of Health has advised home owners with old carpets to exercise extreme caution when removing or changing their carpet underlay. Wearing Class P1 or P2 facemask and disposable overalls before removing the underlay will minimize the risk of inhalation of the dust. The Department of Health also recommends that they be consulted by those intending to change their 40-year or more old carpeting particularly the underlay.
The Department Director of Environmental Health, Jim Dodds has assured, “We will continue to test carpet underlay samples from homes with old carpets to get a clearer picture of the level of risk and the proportion of homes that might be affected”.
It is believed that long time exposure to high concentrations of asbestos can cause respiratory illnesses like Asbestosis and Mesothelioma.