Coastal Asbestos Removals warns of asbestos risk at Palm Beach

DIY renovators tackling projects at Palm Beach are unwittingly unearthing tonnes of dangerous asbestos each year.

Coastal Asbestos Removals owner Jason Spaull said the sought after beachside suburb is “definitely a hotspot for asbestos” and about 70 per cent of his work is in the area.

Mr Spaull said his crew of 10 remove hundreds of tonnes of asbestos from Palm Beach yearly and his business had boomed on the back of the abundance of asbestos at the suburb.

It comes as Palm Beach foreshore has reopened two months after hazardous asbestos was uncovered by Gold Coast City Council.

Specialist contractors were called in to remove the asbestos, which the council believes originated from old construction rubble, and work included installing an interim capping layer.

Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. The risks increase with the number of fibres inhaled.

Asbestosis is a chronic chest disease which can develop decades after initial exposure, when lung tissue hardens and scars. Symptoms include persistent coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, phlegm, lung infections, pulmonary hypertension and heart failure.

Mr Spaull said he had removed the outlawed building material from “nearly every street with a number from 2nd Ave right up to 27th Ave”.

“It’s the age of the buildings and the boom. Everyone wants to live in Palm Beach,” he said.

“We constantly get calls with people saying they’ve just started their bathroom, that sort of thing, and found asbestos. It’s a huge problem. People just don’t know they’ve got asbestos in the homes.”

Mr Spaull said most renovators do not get their property inspected for asbestos before undertaking renovations.

“What’s the only thing (renovators) can do if they have zero skills? You can smash down walls, you can rip things out and it’s a recipe for disaster,” he said.

“People have a false sense of security. We’re hearing the third wave of asbestos suffers are home renovators.

“Asbestos diseases are not diseases of the past. Even when I tell people I run an asbestos business they think I run a blacksmith shop.

“It’s safe when it’s good condition, if you don’t touch it,.

“The big problem is dodgy builders just trying to pretend it’s not there because they lose the job.”

Asbestos used to be a common in roofing, guttering, building boards, cement sheeting (fibro), drainage and flue pipes and in the 1960s and 70s loose fibre asbestos was used as home roof insulation. It could also be found in brakes, clutches and gaskets.

Article originally appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Posted in News

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