Are you playing renovation roulette?

01 November 2014

AlburyCity is supporting national Asbestos Awareness Month this November and encouraging residents, builders and renovators to educate themselves about the dangers of asbestos.

People are urged to visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au or alburycity.nsw.gov.au/asbestos to find out more about asbestos and what to do if you find asbestos in your property.

AlburyCity's Team Leader of Building Surveying Warren Jenkinson said it was important people knew the facts about asbestos.

"Many people wrongly believe that only fibro homes contain asbestos. Asbestos products can most likely be found in any Australian home built or renovated before 1987 even brick, weatherboard, fibro and clad homes," he said.

"There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres. With at least 1 in 3 Australian homes containing asbestos, many homeowners, renovators, tradies and handymen are putting their health and the health of families at risk when doing home renovations, maintenance and demolition. That kind of work can release dangerous asbestos dust and fibres that can be inhaled and lead to asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma."

Asbestos can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and under floor coverings, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, garages, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, fences, extensions to homes, and backyard sheds.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that mostly affects the lining of the lungs and develops between 20-50 years after inhaling asbestos fibres. There is no cure and the average survival time after diagnosis is 10-12 months. Inhaling asbestos fibres may also cause other diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and benign pleural disease.

Peter Dunphy Chair of the Asbestos Education Committee that conducts the national Asbestos Awareness campaign commended Council for its commitment to informing residents about the dangers of asbestos.

"We know that Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world because Australia was among the highest consumers of asbestos products until a complete ban of asbestos came into force in Australia in 2003," Mr Dunphy said.

"However, there is still a high volume of asbestos-containing building products used prior to 1987 which remain hidden dangers in homes and buildings such as garages and farm structures so it's critical that all Australians become asbestos aware."