Chimney health hazard

Unseen possible cause of the extraordinary high rate of ALLERGY and ASTHMA in Sydney!

  • Per capita probably the highest in the world!

Over the years there has been considerable research undertaken into the health risks associated with accumulated dust in roof voids. This dust often contains high concentrations of lead and other toxic materials especially in areas were there has been industry in years gone by - such as Sydney's inner west. However not so much attention has been given to chimney flues and fire places. The fact is that there is an extraordinarily high number of fireplaces within the Sydney basin.

Many older homes - terraces and so on have from two to eight in one dwelling. Newer homes - say in western Sydney will often have one fireplace (perhaps a slow combustion heater) The fact of the matter is that as well as drafting up they will also down draft which can blow fine particles back into the property. As a test - run a finger along a mantle piece you will note a very fine dust. This dust again may contain high amounts of lead and other toxic materials. Also however there may be high concentrations of carbon or even coal dust in some older buildings. Ironically this often applies to the unused Federation fireplaces in bedrooms where unknowingly families - often suffering asthma and allergy issues - are at risk of inhaling substances which are highly detrimental to health.

It is very wise to have all fireplaces cleaned even if not in use every few years.

U.S.A. health warning

In the United States Of America, over the past few years, there has been a major clean up of old insulation much of which contains highly toxic materials such as fiber glass or even asbestos. This type of product if disturbed or wind affected will shed fine particles which can enter the home through ceiling vents or similar passages. The fibers of these materials if inhaled can lead to cancer and emphysema and other horrible illnesses.

If you have existing insulation batts it might be prudent to check them out to ensure that there is not a health time bomb up in your roof void.