The need to educate ALL Australians about the dangers of asbestos is vital! A study (MJA in press) by Professor Anthony Johnson et al into ‘The prevalence of self-reported asbestos exposure during home renovation in NSW residents’ showed:
- 60.5% of do it yourself (DIY) renovators reported being exposed to asbestos during home renovations.
- 53% reported their partner and 40% reported their children were also exposed to asbestos during home DIY home renovations. Non DIY renovators were less likely to be exposed or have their families exposed.
- 58% of DIY renovators cut AC Fibro Sheeting – this was the most common activity resulting in asbestos exposure.
- 37% of DIY renovators reported using a power tool to cut asbestos products.
ASBESTOS CAN BE IN ANY HOME BUILT OR RENOVATED BEFORE 1987
1. Every home built or renovated in the years leading up to 1987, most likely contains asbestos!
2. A conservative estimate is that 1 in 3 homes in Australia contains asbestos including brick.
3. If asbestos is undisturbed it generally does not pose a health risk.
4. Many Australians may unknowingly be putting their health and the health of their children, and neighbours at risk because they don’t really understand the dangers of working with asbestos or know where it might be found in and around their home.
5. During renovations or the demolition of homes containing asbestos, asbestos fibres can be released into the air and be inhaled leading to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
6. Not only homes constructed of fibro contain asbestos. Asbestos may be found in every room in the home. It may be behind wall and floor tiles, in walls, ceilings, under floor coverings including lino and carpet and around hot water systems.
7. Only scientific testing of a sample of material by an accredited National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) asbestos testing laboratory can confirm the presence of asbestos. For information on testing and accredited laboratories in your area, visit www.nata.asn.au or call (03) 9274 8200.
8. If asbestos materials are in good condition, paint them and leave them alone.