News

Half of Australian home owners can't identify asbestos

HEALTH HAZARD: Asbestos identification and removal should be left to the professionals.
HEALTH HAZARD: Asbestos identification and removal should be left to the professionals. Che Chapman

RESEARCH has shown nearly half of all home owners aren't confident they could recognise asbestos if they came across it.

The research found while 62% of people have undertaken DIY renovations, only 46% knew what asbestos looked like.

Findings for the survey of 2000 Australian home owners by Slater and Gordon Lawyers were released during Asbestos Awareness Week this week.

Senior asbestos lawyer Margaret Kent said the findings were alarming given estimates that one-in-three Australian homes contain asbestos.

"Asbestos was extensively used as a construction material in Australia during the post-World War Two housing boom and right up to the mid-1980s, so it must be assumed that homes built during that time contain the deadly product," she said.

"We know that products containing asbestos had many uses, including in walls, fencing, roofing, pipes, flues, ceiling insulation, carpet underlay and tile undersheeting - and a major problem is that it can be very difficult to spot if you're not a professional."

Ms Kent said hundreds of Australians continued to be diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases every year.

"The first wave of victims was mostly miners and manufacturers and the second wave was construction and trade workers who were exposed to asbestos in building materials," she said.

"Sadly, we're in the midst of a third wave of victims, who were exposed in their home environment.

"Without greater community asbestos awareness, we risk more home exposures to asbestos, as more and more people embrace the DIY craze and renovate their homes."

She said the dangers of asbestos should never be underestimated, with even low levels of exposure able to cause life-threatening illnesses.

"The risk arises once asbestos has been disturbed and dust is released, for example while drilling, sanding and demolishing during home renovations.

"If renovators suspect there is asbestos in their house, they should leave it alone and have it removed by professionals."

Topics:  asbestos, slater and gordon



Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care

Your kids will love childcare, but it may take some adjusting.

GETTING your child ready for day care is vital.

MUMS' TOP 5: 'Musts' to have on your childcare checklist

SOME FALL SHORT: Organisations that train childcare workers will be subjected to extra audits.

SENDING your child off to day care can be daunting and confusing.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Tag team teaches dog skills

CLASS IS IN: Bindi keeps a watchful eye on Sue and the rehab dogs including Skip who is sitting obediently.

Tag team teaches dog skills

Dam scoured by divers in search for Sharon Edwards

HUNT: Police have searched a dam as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Sharon Edwards.

Dam scoured by divers in search for Sharon Edwards

Indigenous artist makes music entrance

INDIGENOUS PERFORMER: Yirrmal brings his unique sound to the Bello Winter Music Festival.

Indigenous artist makes music entrance

Latest deals and offers

Oakeshott responds to National's smear campaign

Oakeshott wants his "name back" after National Party buys his domain name

Oakeshott talks election priorities for Cowper

Youth employment, Coffs Harbour bypass, education among Oakeshott's commitments for...

Oakeshott talks Turnbull and past political record

Oakeshott calls Hartsuyker one of 25 "very conservative" MPs that make this...

Prominent Coffs Harbour beach resort listed for sale

The Aanuka Beach Resort has been listed for sale

Aanuka Beach Resort, without its accommodation component, up for sale

Local rent labelled too costly

UNAFFORDABLE: Coffs Harbour’s rentals are too costly according to the latest Rental Affordability Index.

Local rental prices too costly, index says