Does Your Home Contain Asbestos? How Would You know?
Don’t Play Renovation Roulette! – Get to know Asbestos this november!
Visit asbestosawanress.com.au – It’s not worth the risk!
November Is National Asbestos Awareness Month 2015 – Asbestos Awareness Day is Friday 27 NOvember
There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres so it’s very important to safely manage asbestos-containing materials that can be found in and around homes.
With 1 in 3 Australian homes containing asbestos in some form or another, and with the popularity of home renovation programs rising inspiring an ongoing boom in renovations, now more than ever before, homeowners, renovators, tradies and handymen need to Get to kNOw Asbestos this NOvember and visit asbestosawareness.com.au to protect themselves and their families from dangerous asbestos fibres.
Peter Dunphy Chair of the Asbestos Education Committee heading the national Asbestos Awareness Month campaign said, “Many Australians believe that only fibro homes contain asbestos but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Because Australia was among the highest consumers of asbestos products in the world, asbestos-containing materials are common in homes built or renovated before 1987 with a broad range of products still commonly found in and around any brick, weatherboard, fibro or clad home.
“Without knowing where these products might be found in homes, people are playing ‘Renovation Roulette’ and putting their health and the health of families at risk so homeowners, renovators, tradesmen and handymen must Get to kNOw Asbestos this NOvember by taking the 20 Point Asbestos Safety Check at asbestosawareness.com.au to learn how to identify these products and manage asbestos safely,” he said.
People would be surprised at where they might find the hidden danger of asbestos in a home built or renovated before 1987. It could be anywhere! Under floor coverings such as carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, garages, roofs, around hot water pipes, fences, extensions to homes, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm sheds, chook sheds and even dog kennels.
“By visiting asbestosawarness.com.au people will be able to easily search to identify the sorts of products to look for, the locations of where they might be found and learn how to manage it and dispose of it safely,” he said.
Prior to 1987, many homes were constructed from low-cost fibro (bonded asbestos cement sheeting) to meet the growing demand for housing and it was common practice for builders and labourers to bury broken pieces of asbestos materials on building sites which can now be exposed when digging, gardening or redeveloping properties or land.
Fibro was also commonly used when building garages to house the new family car, to build Dad’s shed and when adding extensions to existing brick or weatherboard homes such as family rooms while ‘weekenders’ were often built from fibro as low-cost holiday homes.
In rural settings many farm buildings were constructed from fibro as a cost-effective means of housing equipment and stock and it was also widely used to construct ‘sleep-out’ additions to farmhouses, workers accommodation and community housing throughout much of regional Australia.
“If left undisturbed and well-maintained asbestos-containing products generally don’t pose a health risk. However, if these products are disturbed and fibres are released during a renovation, a knock-down-rebuild or the redevelopment of an old fibro home site, this is when health risks can occur,” Mr Dunphy said.
“While renovators and their families are at risk of exposure to asbestos fibres, tradespeople are particularly vulnerable as they come into contact with products that may contain asbestos every day of their working life and need to be doubly aware of the risks and know safe management practices of working with asbestos.
“When it comes to asbestos, don’t play Renovation Roulette! Don’t cut it! Don’t drill it! Don’t drop it! Don’t sand it! Don’t saw it! Don’t scrape it! Don’t scrub it! Don’t dismantle it! Don’t tip it! Don’t waterblast it! Don’t demolish it! And whatever you do… Don’t dump it!” Mr Dunphy said.
Professor Nico van Zandwijk, Director of the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute said, “There is growing evidence that suggests the current occurrences of asbestos-related diseases is as a result of exposure to asbestos fibres during DIY and renovations with more people, specifically women, diagnosed as a result of inhaling fibres in a non-occupational setting.
“By not knowing the types of asbestos-containing products, where they might be located in properties and how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely, people risk releasing and inhaling fibres that could lead to asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma* and this can have devastating, life-threatening effects, Professor van Zandwijk said.
There is no cure for mesothelioma, a cancer that can develop between 20-50 years after inhaling asbestos fibres and the average survival time after diagnosis is 10-12 months. Inhaling asbestos fibres can also cause diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and benign pleural disease.
Does your home contain asbestos? How would you kNOw? Stop playing Renovation Roulette! Get to kNOw Asbestos this November by visiting asbestosawareness.com.au and take the 20 Point Safety Check. Learn to identify products that may contain asbestos in your home and property, where it might be found and learn how to manage it and dispose of it safely. It’s not worth the risk!
During NOvember Australians are encouraged to host a Blue Lamington Drive morning or afternoon tea at home or at work to help raise awareness of the current dangers of asbestos while raising vital funds for medical research and support services for sufferers of asbestos-related diseases.
- Get to kNOw asbestos this NOvember, visit asbestosawareness.com.au
- Register a Blue Lamington Drive morning or afternoon tea, visit www.bluelamington.com
- Make a donation to support research conducted by the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute.
FOR MORE INFORMATION & INTERVIEW REQUESTS PLEASE CONTACT
Insight Communications 02 9518 4744
Clare Collins 0414 821 957 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alice Collins 0414 686 091 email@example.com
Interview Opportunities Include:
Peter Dunphy, Chair of the Asbestos Education Committee
Professor Nico van Zandwijk, Director of the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute
Asbestos Awareness Ambassadors: Cherie Barber, Don Burke, Scott Cam, Barry Du Bois, John Jarratt and Scott McGregor.
Case studies and family members are also available.