New research suggests Carbon Nanotubes could be the new asbestos

Carbon Nanotubes, also known as CNTs, can be commonly found in household electrical appliances, bicycle equipment, and even tennis rackets! 

The material is prized for its conductivity - which is ten times that of copper- and its tensile strength - 100 times that of steel - so it’s not surprising that many have dubbed Carbon Nanotubes a ‘Wonder Material’.

However, new research from the toxicology department of the UK’s Medical Research Council suggests that CNTs could be linked to mesothelioma.

 Carbon Nanotubes: small, but potentially deadly

Carbon Nanotubes: small, but potentially deadly

If this all sounds worryingly familiar, that’s because it is. In our nation’s not too distant past asbestos once shared a similar reputation and was prized for its impressive heat resistant properties. 

Since then, the cancer causing properties of asbestos and its links to mesothelioma have become widely known and in 2003 Australia banned the deadly mineral. 

During the CNT experiments researchers introduced CNT fibres and asbestos fibres into the pleural cavity of mice, a body part similar to human lungs. The animals were then monitored for a period of twenty months. 

What the researchers found was that mice with the introduced fibres had their cellular pathways for inflammation and caner activated and their DNA damaged; results that mymicked asbestos exposure. This was replicated over three different study groups.

 Between 10-25% of the lab mice exposed to Carbon Nanotubes began to develop Mesothelioma. 

Between 10-25% of the lab mice exposed to Carbon Nanotubes began to develop Mesothelioma. 

The results of these three study groups showed that that between 10% and 25% of the animals exposed to CNT’s went onto develop mesothelioma.

The study was carefully set-up in order to replicate the low levels of chronic exposure  experienced by workers in the asbestos industry. The lab conditions reflected what it would be like to be exposed to fibres in the air, eight hours a day, for a working life of 40 years. 

Although the study certainly doesn’t prove that CNTs can cause mesothelioma in humans, it does make it frightfully clear that more research needs to be done and that CNTs may not be safe after all.

If nothing else, it is a reminder that It would be naive to think that an asbestos-level tragedy couldn’t happen again. 

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Not so super: An introduction to Super Six

Before it was banned by the Australian government in 2003, asbestos based products were a commonly used building material. Today, 15 years on from the ban, asbestos is still found in most Australian homes that have been built or renovated before 1990. 

 Like other non-friable asbestos products, Super Six roofing can release dangerous asbestos fibres when broken or damaged. 

Like other non-friable asbestos products, Super Six roofing can release dangerous asbestos fibres when broken or damaged. 

As a result, asbestos can be found everywhere from walls, to underneath tiles, in pipe insulation, in wall cladding, in fencing and even in roofing - which was the most common use for asbestos up until the 1980’s.

Asbestos roofing products include asbestos cement shingles and corrugated asbestos fibre and cement sheets; the former of which saw use in Australia for over 40 years and is often referred to as ‘Super Six’.

The name Super Six is used colloquially to refer to all corrugated cement building materials; however, Super Six is technically a popular brand of corrugated cement sheeting products created by building product manufacturer James Hardie. James Hardie ceased manufacturing Super Six in 1985. 

 This painted Super Six roofing is looking a little worse for wear. 

This painted Super Six roofing is looking a little worse for wear. 

Today, James Hardie continues to make cement fibre products, although obviously these new cement fibre products contain no asbestos.

As well as roofing, super six was also used to construct garden walls and as fencing. 

Super Six is generally white to grey in colour (however it was often painted) and is hard and brittle.

Although super six is classed as a non-friable asbestos product because the dangerous asbestos fibres are encased in cement, this classification isn’t always accurate. 

 Super Six is often found as part of old garden sheds. 

Super Six is often found as part of old garden sheds. 

After prolonged exposure to the weather the cement in Super Six can wear down, exposing and releasing the dangerous asbestos fibres contained within. These fibres could become airborne and inhaled or fall to the ground and make their way into local waterways.

If super six, or any product containing asbestos for that matter, are found in your home they must be removed before demolition can begin. Each piece of a material containing asbestos must be removed by hand, being careful not to damage or break it. The discarded asbestos is then wrapped in plastic and placed in a skip so it can be taken offsite and legally disposed of. 

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Asbestos awareness month 2017 kicks off today!

Today marks the first day of National Asbestos Awareness month, an annual month long campaign to educate the Australian public on the dangers of asbestos and how to best manage any asbestos they might have in their home. 

 Cheapest demolition Sydney, cheapest asbestos removal Sydney 

Australians have a reputation for punching above our weight on the world stage. Whether it be in sport, the creative arts or agriculture, it is not uncommon for Australia to be near the head of the pack. However, one area where we don’t want to be leading is in the amount of people suffering from asbestos related disease

That’s right, Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos related disease in the world. This is even more concerning when you remember that asbestos has been banned in Australia since 2003. In fact, rather than on the decline, the instance of asbestos related disease is actually on the increase in Australia. 

So, why is this happening? Well, even though most Australians are aware that asbestos is dangerous, individuals are still continuing to maintain or renovate their homes without realising they are exposing themselves to deadly asbestos fibres. Most at risk are home renovators and tradesmen. 

The theme of this year’s National Asbestos Awareness month is Renovating? Go Slow! Asbestos it’s a No Go, a catchy reminder of the importance of checking for asbestos before going ahead with home maintenance or a renovation project. 

 Asbestos removal Sydney, Cheapest asbestos removal Sydney

Throughout the month Asbestos Awareness Ambassadors, like renovation guru Cherie Barber, television presenter Don Burke, and actor John Jarratt, will be hitting social media, television and the airwaves to get this important message out. 

Additionally, local councils will be holding events, Blue Lamington drives will be held to raise money for the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, and BETTY - the mobile asbestos education house - will be touring Tasmania. 

 It is vital asbestos is only removed and disposed of by trained professionals. 

It is vital asbestos is only removed and disposed of by trained professionals. 

At Home Demolitions we regularly remove asbestos from homes all over Sydney. As a result we understand both the dangers and the importance of removing and disposing of it safely and are committed to helping to spread asbestos awareness and education.

For more information you can check out the offical National Asbestos Awareness month website.

Early warning signs of termite infestation

They might be tiny, but a termite infestation is a huge problem -  especially when it is your house on the menu. Commonly known as white ants, subterranean termites, are highly organised and interdependent creatures that are capable of eating through the wall and roofing of a newly constructed home within three months. If nothing else you have to admire their efficiency!

Although well known for their timber eating abilities, only one type of termite in the colony is actually capable of digesting wood: the humble worker termite. Worker termites do this thanks to a symbiotic organism in their gut, called a protozoa, and regurgitate the processed food to the other termites in the nest. When venturing outside of the nest, worker termites travel in mud tubes to protect themselves from their ancient enemy, the ant!

 Artist's impression of Termite/ Ant rivalry 

Artist's impression of Termite/ Ant rivalry 

Termites thrive in warm, humid conditions, so with that in mind it is not surprising that Sydney is a termite hotspot. Although they favour built up urban areas, all of Sydney is at high risk of termite infestation, particularly those properties in close proximity to gum trees. 

 Sydney homes are at high risk of termite infestation - map provided by CSIRO

Sydney homes are at high risk of termite infestation - map provided by CSIRO

An infestation is a serious matter, since, as mentioned before, termites can eat through wood with incredible speed causing significant and irreparable structural damage. Such damage can even, in the worst cases, lead to spontaneous collapse - as recently happened to a termite ridden carport in Hawaii. 

 This carport has certainly seen better days. 

This carport has certainly seen better days. 

It is worth knowing that most insurance policies don’t cover terminate infestations as they are viewed as a preventable problem related to home maintenance. 

So what can I do to prevent termites from infesting my home? Well, since hiring a rag-tag gang of ant mercenaries to patrol your house for termites isn’t exactly possible, a better option is to keep an eye out for signs of termite infestation.

Things to look out for include:

  • Mud tubes, which are small tunnels made from soil running along the outside of your house
  • Tiny holes in wood
  • Small cracks in wood
  • Termite dung, these look more like sawdust than actual droppings.
 A mud tube -  a common sign of termite infestation. 

A mud tube -  a common sign of termite infestation. 

Unfortunately, early detection and extermination isn’t much use if your house has already taken irreversible structural damage due to termites. If the structure has been weakened beyond repair then only one option remains: demolition. As well as disposing of the termite infested structure and materials, demolishing allows you to start again on a blank, termite-free slate. 

 

Demolition; 2015.

 Om nom nom #CerealKiller

Om nom nom #CerealKiller

We all know Jake Gyllenhaal, he's starred in a tonne of classic films such as Bubble Boy and the ever nonsensical Donnie Darko. Although having not personally known of it, or knowing anyone that has, there is apparently a film from 2015 starring Gyllenhaal with the title: Demolition.

 You want five hundred dolluh?

You want five hundred dolluh?

Not to be confused with the 1993 Snipes vs Stallone dystopian blockbuster Demolition Manthis recent drama film is about a man that loses a loved one which results in the entirety of his life being questioned. Dealing with complex thoughts and emotions, Gyllenhaal the main character finds solace in dismantling various items around his home which eventually leads to demolishing the whole house. 

 #Fridays

#Fridays

The movie itself scores a 7/10 on IMDB and even won a couple of small film festival awards. Although saddened that this film doesn't focus on the Demolition aspect of things "we would have loved to have seen a 20 tonne excavator become a plot twisting love interest" it may be worth a watch if you're a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal or director Jean-Marc Vallée "notable for directing some film called Loser Love?"

The most demolished house - EVER

 Recognise this image? Well, chances are that you've seen it quite a few times already. Maybe not this  exact  photo; as this is Home Demolitions' attempt to photoshop the excavator demolishing the house out of the image.

Recognise this image? Well, chances are that you've seen it quite a few times already. Maybe not this exact photo; as this is Home Demolitions' attempt to photoshop the excavator demolishing the house out of the image.

 
 
 The original in all it's glory.

The original in all it's glory.

This particular photograph is the graphic representation of over 85 companies around the world, 5 of which are located here in Sydney! So, why is it just so darn popular? Well, obviously it depicts a house being demolished and the machinery being used has no branding or business affiliation, so basically anyone can say "yup, thats me" but this is also a clue as to the actual origins of this picture. 

Just a couple thousand websites hosting the image as their own.

Theres actually quite a few things that are a little bit unusual going on in the scene, as mentioned above, the excavator has no branding or corporate decals, this is usually one of the first things a business will do with their equipment, heck, If you're going to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars, it may as well look cool right! Further more, the house itself is certainly no typical rendition of an Australian home, nor is it American, in fact, if anything, it looks quite European. The other major anomaly is the fact that the building is being demolished with roofing tiles still in place (this makes grading the waste materials far more difficult as they will now be mixed in with timber and other resources) lest we not even take notice of the perfectly salvageable windows left in place. 

 Now available for purchase on  Shutterstock

Now available for purchase on Shutterstock

But what does it all mean? One very probably interpretation would suggest that the demolition of the house in the image was either done with little or no planning, possibly even against the will of the owner. It is also unlikely to see state or council owned machinery and equipment be decorated with insignia and branding. So is this a case of local authorities demolishing a house without consent? Possibly.

 Hon Hon Hon - Démolition experte, naufrage baguette!!!

Hon Hon Hon - Démolition experte, naufrage baguette!!!

The earliest listed version (also the largest and least edited) appears on a German news and media website in an article pertaining to developers deviating from approved plans, citing that the image itself depicts the demolition of four 2 storey townhouses which were constructed under the guise of approval for one single storey home. The Niedersächsische Oberverwaltungsgericht "German High Court" deemed the structures illegal and ordered their destruction at cost to the developer. A specific address and details of the builder are mentioned in some of the ensuing court documents, however our understanding of the German language isn't really up to speed and thus deciphering the information has been difficult. If anyone reading this Sprechen Sie Deutsch, feel free to peruse some articles here - and let us know what it all means!

 ZUM ABRISS!!!

ZUM ABRISS!!!

PCYC: Time 4 Kids

The New South Wales Police Citizens Youth Club's latest fundraising initiative focused towards at risk youth has seen all nature of Sydneysiders 'locked up' and on display in one of the cities busiest streets. All week figures of Sydney from Football legends through to pop icons have been detained with appointed bail sums determined for the safe release of each identity. So when Home Demolitions found out that long term friend, Peter Driscoll had bail set at five thousand dollars we were more than happy to let him spend some time in a public holding cell. Eventually (several hours later hahahaha) Home Demolitions mustered up a cheque that would eventually lead to Peter's freedom.  Feel free to check out the donations and sponsorship page to help this great cause reach it's goal. 

driscol PCYC.jpg