Asbestos lurks in more places than you’d think

Monday 23 November kicks off National Asbestos Awareness Week and the Asbestos Disease Support Society is calling on Australians not to be complacent about the dangers of harmful asbestos fibres.

“It is easy to forget that asbestos is still present in millions of Australian homes, but it’s a fact that if a house was built or renovated before 1990, there’s a good chance it has some asbestos”, said Trevor Torrens, General Manager of ADSS.

Asbestos can be easily disturbed and is still commonly found in bathrooms, laundries, and kitchens as well as behind tiles and under flooring and many other household areas.

National Asbestos Awareness Week 2020 reminds Australians to be asbestos aware before they start any work around the home. Asbestos lurks in more places than you’d think. At the height of its use, asbestos was in over 3,000 products and many of these products are still contained in our homes and workplaces.

Asbestos is a known carcinogen and inhaling asbestos fibres can cause a number of life-threatening diseases including pleural disease, asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos fibres are around 200 times thinner than a human hair and can be inhaled easily. They can become trapped deep in the lungs and cause damage over a long period. It can take many years for an asbestos related disease to develop after a person is exposed to asbestos, which is commonly 20 to 30 years.

Asbestos-related diseases cause approximately 4,000 deaths a year.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians have increased their love of DIY and are using the extra time at home to do some home improvements and maintenance.

“We are encouraging Australians to make sure an asbestos check forms part of their DIY checklist before they start their home improvements.” said Mr Torrens.

Research shows that 1 in 5 DIYers have encountered asbestos, but only half sought any kind of professional help to deal with it.

“Additionally, a third admitted to disposing of the asbestos improperly – including in their own household bin or in a neighbour’s bin and potentially putting others at risk.

“Just like plumbing and electrical work, asbestos removal – or jobs around the home that might uncover asbestos – are jobs best left to the experts.” said Mr Torrens.

This Asbestos Awareness Week, ADSS is calling on Australians to know the health risk, be aware of where asbestos might be found before starting work and call a professional for help.
Be aware: Asbestos lurks in more places than you’d think.”

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