Reminder to Do-It-Yourself renovators to be asbestos aware

26/11/2019

Asbestos could be lurking in your bathroom, kitchen or other unexpected places in your home - this is the message to do-it-yourself renovators, with at least one in three Australian homes likely to contain this dangerous product.

This week (Monday 25 November) kicks off National Asbestos Awareness Week, and Georges River Council is calling on local DIY-ers to get an asbestos check before they renovate.

Georges River Council Mayor Kevin Greene said Council is joining hundreds of government and non-government organisations in encouraging Australians not to be complacent about the dangers of harmful asbestos fibres and to be aware of where asbestos can be found.

“It’s a fact of life that living in Australia means living with asbestos so it’s vital that we understand how to manage and dispose of it safely,” said Mayor Greene.

“Even though it has been banned in Australia since 2003, 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 – especially in buildings built before 1990.

“It is very difficult to tell whether building materials contain asbestos just by looking at them so DIY renovators and tradespeople working in homes are most at risk of being exposed to the deadly material.

“Protecting yourself and your family can be as simple as getting an asbestos check from a licensed asbestos assessor who can advise where asbestos might be in the home, and how to manage the risk safely.

“This includes how to safely and legally dispose of asbestos product to protect neighbours and the wider community.

“An estimated 4,000 Australians die from asbestos-related diseases every year so this Asbestos Awareness Week, make sure you know what to do to avoid becoming exposed.”

Asbestos materials left undisturbed and in a stable condition pose a very low health risk. It’s when asbestos fibres are released and inhaled they can cause a range of diseases including mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer, for which there is no cure.

Products around the home that might contain asbestos include:
  • Roofs, eaves, downpipes and insulation
  • Interior walls (often with a non-asbestos covering on the outside)
  • Kitchen splashbacks
  • Under lino, some carpets, and tiles (and the cement compounds used to stick tiles)
  • Lagging around pipes, inside fuse boxes or as part of ventilation shafts
  • Fences, garden sheds and small outdoor construction like chicken coops
  • As part of bonded cement compounds that make up walls –disturbed when you sand for painting
Go to asbestos.nsw.gov.au website for more information.