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Are you renovating? Go slow - asbestos is a no go

Asbestos sheeting

Monday 30 October 2017

With more than one in three houses in Australia still containing asbestos, Mount Alexander Shire Council is urging residents to go slow when it comes to renovating.

National Asbestos Awareness Month is a timely reminder for people to learn and understand the risks associated with asbestos that could be lurking in the home.

“Many houses built or renovated before 1987 contain some kind of asbestos product,” said Ben Bowman, Manager Healthy Environments, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“Asbestos can be found anywhere! It was used in the manufacture of a broad range of products including walls, ceilings, pipes, roofing, outdoor structures and flooring.

“In addition to the home and garage, asbestos can even be found in the backyard and farm structures such as chook sheds and dog kennels,” said Mr Bowman.

If left undisturbed asbestos is generally not a health risk but it can potentially be deadly if disturbed.

Home renovators and tradespeople may unknowingly place themselves and others at risk by disturbing asbestos-containing materials during renovations and home maintenance.

Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer or asbestosis. 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.

Because there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres, it’s important to safely manage asbestos-containing materials that might be found in the home or on the farm.

“We urge anyone involved in renovations – from the home renovator to the professional builder – to stop playing renovation roulette.

“Take it slow by learning where asbestos-containing materials might be found, and how to manage and dispose of them safely,” said Mr Bowman.

Get your healthy house check list and find out more about what to look for, where asbestos may be hidden, and how to safely remove it by visiting asbestosawareness.com.au.

For local information on disposal, search asbestos on Council’s website.

Image: Asbestos can be present in many forms in the home, including wall sheeting. (Image courtesy of Asbestos Awareness).

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