Asbestos could be anywhere, and you need to be aware! Especially for renovators, the risks need to be understood.
Australia was among the highest consumers of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the world. Multiple products still lie hidden in one-third of Aussie homes built or renovated before 1987 including brick, weatherboard, fibro, clad homes, flats, and apartments.
Each week 13 Australians die of asbestos-related diseases – 12 from malignant mesothelioma. Another 13 are diagnosed with this incurable cancer and the average survival time following diagnosis is just 10-12 months.
As an Asbestos Awareness Ambassador Cherie Barber, Australia’s Renovation Queen and proud Mum of 11-year-old daughter Milan issued a vital warning to Aussie mums and dads everywhere.
“There is nothing more heartbreaking for any parent than to lose a child particularly from a preventable disease,” said Cherie.
“We each have the responsibility to protect our children from something that has the potential to kill,” she said.
“We know that children are often present when parents and tradespeople are working on home renovations and undertaking maintenance – even playing with materials and sweeping up dust that could contain deadly asbestos.
“Most Australians would be surprised at where they might find the hidden danger of asbestos. It could be anywhere! Under floor coverings such as carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind a wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation). It can even be in eaves, garages, roofs, around hot water pipes, fences, extensions to homes, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm sheds, chook sheds and even dog kennels,” Cherie said.
If you’re thinking of renovating and you believe a product might be asbestos, play it safe and treat it as if it is and take all the necessary precautions including getting the experts involved. A licensed asbestos assessor can come to your home and assess the property and if you need to remove any, only use licensed asbestos removalists because it’s not worth the risk!
“Although there’s no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres, what we do know is that the greater the exposure, the greater the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases,” said Cherie.
If sealed, in excellent condition and left undisturbed, it is not considered dangerous. However, when ACMs are disturbed, they release microscopic fibres that can be inhaled and can cause deadly diseases to develop 20-50 years after exposure including cancers such as malignant mesothelioma.
Every Australian parent has the responsibility to learn the dangers of asbestos and how to manage it safely so we don’t risk exposing ourselves or our children to fibres that can develop into deadly cancer.
Here are Cherie’s top 8 tips to help everyone stay safe;
- Be educated before renovating.
- If you think it may have asbestos, make sure you engage a licensed expert to assess and report on it to you.
- Make sure all tradies are aware of any known asbestos.
- Always use a good quality mask.
- Make sure you carefully remove any fittings before engaging the experts to remove any asbestos sheeting on the walls.
- Do not disturb any bonded asbestos.
- Keep children away and safe. If they are around, make sure they have a quality mask too!
- When it comes to renovating, GO SLOW – Asbestos is a NO GO!
Knowing what to look for and how to manage asbestos safely is the key to preventing any related illness or disease, so it’s vital that parents who are thinking about renovating visit www.asbestosawareness.com.au