AUSTRALIA: Everything Australian renovators need to know about asbestos

Asbestos was embraced wholeheartedly by Australians. After all, we found rich deposits in Western Australia in the 1930s and had an industry keen to embrace a product that would help grow our young nation.

Asbestos is commonly found in corrugated roofs from homes built before 1987.

Asbestos is commonly found in corrugated roofs from homes built before 1987.

Long before the fibres were found to have deadly consequences, it was used in sheeting, roofing, insulation, children’s play equipment, roads and more.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that Australian experts recognised asbestos dust could be inhaled into the lungs and cause deadly cancer decades later.

Today, asbestos-containing products are still found in a third of homes built before 1987 and the Asbestos Education Committee wants people to know it’s not just found in fibro sheeting.

If you recognised eaves or cladding from your own home that you think could contain asbestos, Renovating for Profit founder Cherie Barber said there was no need to panic.

“It’s completely safe if it’s painted and in good condition,” Barber told HuffPost Australia.

“It’s only if you disturb it that the fibres can become dangerous.

“The thing about Australians and home renovators is we tend to be a bit gung ho. There’s a ‘she’ll be right’ mentality but no. She won’t be right if there’s asbestos.

“You might be one of the lucky ones who is exposed to asbestos and doesn’t develop asbestos poisoning but you also might also be one of the people who is only exposed once and does find 20 or 40 years later they’ve developed asbestosis.”

Asbestos Refurbishment/ Demolition Survey

Asbestos Refurbishment/ Demolition Surveys before any refurbishment or demolition work is carried out.

A 2013 NSW study found 61 percent of DIY home renovators reported being exposed to asbestos, as well as 39 percent exposing their partner and 23 percent reported their children were also exposed.

Barber said her grandfather died of asbestosis and she didn’t want to see home renovators have the same fate.

“I watched him pass away and the concerning truth is that today lots of home renovators are passing away because of asbestos poisoning.

Asbestos In The Home – The Ultimate Renovators Guide (Highlights)

Today marks the start of Global Asbestos Awareness Week. For hints and tips about asbestos in the home check out Cherie Barber – Renovating For Profit's Ultimate Revovator's Guide.

Posted by Betty the ADRI House & Asbestos Awareness on Thursday, 31 March 2016

“The first thing you need to do if contemplating a renovation is to get an asbestos identification survey. It will cost you about $500 but it will tell you exactly where asbestos is inside and outside the home so you and also tradesmen can be aware.”

“I started full time professional renovaitng in 2000 and in 2001, I was working on a home and I’d been sanding a wall for about a day. I had safety goggles on but I was covered head to toe in dust. It looked like I’d been skiing. I now believe that to be an asbestos wall. I absolutely shiver in fright when I think about it.

“Today, there’s no need to take that risk.”

November is Asbestos Awareness Month.

Source: The Huffington Post

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