Exposure to dust and fibre released from new brake linings, shoes or clutches when fitting, including chamfering, grinding and rivetting, can cause asbestos diseases such as asbestosis or mesothelioma. Exposure to dust blown out from used brake linings is generally not dangerous to health as the asbestos in the brake linings undergoes a chemical reaction, becoming fausterite, during brake usage.
The two main manufacturers of asbestos brake linings in South Australia were Hardie Ferodo and Bendix Mintex.
Insulation and lagging
Up until the 1980′s, asbestos was widely used for insulation and sound proofing in South Australia.
In many commercial and industrial buildings, power stations and onboard ships, asbestos was sprayed as insulation and sound proofing on bulkheads, beams, columns and ceilings.
Hot water and steam pipes were extensively lagged with asbestos insulation, usually in the form of asbestos rope, pre-formed asbestos pipe sections or asbestos composition mixed with water to form a paste or slurry. Asbestos was also widely used as insulation on furnaces, turbines and boilers in factories, steel works and power stations in South Australia, including the Osborne Power Station, Torrens Island Power Station and Port Augusta Power Station. It was also used as insulation onboard ships, including ships built at the BHP shipyards at Whyalla.
Asbestos mats or blankets were used around boilers on locomotives at the Islington rail yards. Asbestos blankets were also used as heat protection while welding. Asbestos gloves were widely used as heat protection while welding or handling very hot objects.
Fibro and asbestos cement
Asbestos cement buildings products, commonly referred to as fibro, were widely used in South Australia after World War II. Two out of every three houses constructed in Australia in the period 1945 to 1983 contained asbestos cement sheets. Up until 1983 asbestos cement sheets contained up to 15% asbestos.
Asbestos cements sheets were used as external linings on houses, cottages, garages and car ports, as internal linings, particularly in wet areas such as bathrooms, laundries and kitchens, as eaves or soffits, as roofs, gable ends and fences, as flooring in bathrooms or wet areas and on porches and verandahs.
In South Australia, post 1961, James Hardie and Coy Pty Limited was the sole manufacturer of asbestos cement sheets.
Popular asbestos cement sheets include Hardiflex flat sheets, Deep Six corrugated sheets, Thick compressed sheets, Tilux (patterned sheets), Versilux, Hardiplank, Shadowline, Coverline and Log Cabin.
Asbestos cement sheets in situ and in good repair do not constitute a danger to health, however, dust and fibre released from asbestos cement sheets during cutting, sawing drilling, sanding, rasping or otherwise handling the sheets can be dangerous to health and cause asbestos diseases including asbestosis and mesothelioma.