Stephanie Stefanovic

We’ve all heard about asbestos, the fibre commonly used in building materials in the 1970s and earlier that was later found to be carcinogenic. It’s usually found in places like ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, wall paper and vinyl flooring, but you’d be surprised at how many other places it could be hiding in your home.

Crock pots
If you’ve got an old crock pot that was handed down to you by a relative, or perhaps you’ve been using the same crock pot for the past 25 years or so, it might be time to upgrade. Prior to the regulations around asbestos, it was used in the lining between the outer and inner pot to retain heat, and in the electrical cord to prevent fires. While the type of asbestos (Chrysotile) used in crock pots is not carcinogenic, it’s certainly toxic and not something you want surrounding your food.

Baby powder
Baby powder is made up of talc, which can often contain tremolite asbestos. Australian manufacturers may take safety measures to prevent the presence of tremolite in their mined talc, but many foreign manufacturers have less strict regulations about the presence of asbestos in their products. If your baby powder is not Australian-made, you may want to avoid using it unless you find that the company does indeed restrict asbestos-use in their products.

Outdoor Toilets
If you live in an older home, chances are you have an outdoor toilet. While they’re not so popular now, outdoor toilets were very common in houses built in the 70s and earlier. The materials used to build these toilets was very much the same as the materials used to build homes at the time, which means that asbestos was often included. If your outdoor toilet is run down (as such old toilets tend to be), this increases your chances of exposure to asbestos, which is something to be aware of.

Electrical meter boxes
If your home was built before 1988, it’s likely that your electrical meter box contains asbestos. Electrical back boards were often manufactured using asbestos to prevent fires and resist electrical arcing. Many electrical boxes were also made with asbestos-containing sheeting as thermal insulation inside the box, and asbestos-containing materials in the door to the electrical box. Asbestos-containing meter boards were manufactured under several product names – Lebah, Ausbestos, Miscolite and Zelemite. If your electrical box is stamped with one of these names, make sure to inform any electrical workers that will come into contact with the box.