Renovator safety in focus for National Asbestos Awareness Month
November is National Asbestos Awareness Month, with a message to Australians that home renovations could pose dangers.
The “Renovating? Go Slow! Asbestos – It’s a NO GO!” campaign reminds Australians that asbestos materials are present in one-third of all homes built or renovated before 1987.
It is vital that home owners, renovators, handymen and tradespeople are aware of where these types of asbestos-containing materials might be found, and how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely.
Asbestos can be found under floor coverings including 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 structures, chook sheds and even dog kennels.
If asbestos-containing materials are disturbed during renovations or maintenance and fibres are released that can be inhaled, they can cause asbestos-related diseases including malignant mesothelioma.
There is no cure for mesothelioma, a cancer that can develop between 20–50 years after inhaling asbestos fibres — the average survival time is just 10–12 months following diagnosis. Inhaling asbestos fibres can also cause lung cancer, asbestosis and benign pleural disease. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres, it is extremely important for all Australians to safely manage asbestos-containing materials that might be found in and around their homes.
People are advised to visit asbestosawareness.com.au to learn what they need to know about asbestos and how to manage it safely.
The website provides easy-to-follow information, an online product database to help identify the types of asbestos-containing products to look for and possible locations, and information on how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely.
To protect themselves and their families from exposure to dangerous asbestos fibres, people can download the ‘Asbestos Awareness Healthy House Checklist’ — a simple step-by-step guide on how to conduct a visual inspection of a home to ensure any suspected asbestos is identified and can be managed safely.
Australia’s national Asbestos Awareness Month campaign is a world-leading awareness and education campaign in the prevention of asbestos-related diseases. It is the initiative of the Asbestos Education Committee working in partnership with the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities.
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