Asbestos Awareness Week 20-26 November 2023
Think twice about asbestos – it’s in 1 in 3 homes
20 years since asbestos was banned, but the danger is far from over
National Asbestos Awareness Week, from 20-26 November 2023, reminds Australians to ‘Think Twice About Asbestos’.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Australia’s complete ban of asbestos which took effect on 31 December 2003. But there are still millions of tonnes of asbestos materials that remain in our built environment, hiding in our homes, hospitals, schools and workplaces. These materials are now between 30 to over 100 years old, which means they are deteriorating and increasing the risk of releasing dangerous asbestos fibres.
Most Australians know that exposure to asbestos fibres can cause cancer. In the past, it was those who mined or worked with asbestos materials who were most likely to suffer from this devastating consequence. But now the risk of exposure is increasing among a surge of DIY home renovators.
If your home was built before 1990 it is likely to contain asbestos. To stay safe when fixing up your place, follow these steps:
1. Get in the know – find out whether your home has asbestos and where it is located. Asbestos was used in thousands of building materials, from well-known products such as fibro, cladding and corrugated roof sheets, to vinyl floor tiles, adhesives, paints, electrical components, insulation, gutters, pipes, textured coatings and window putty.
2. Take it slow – Don’t damage or disturb asbestos materials. This can release dangerous asbestos fibres into the air.
3. Get a pro – Contact a licensed asbestos professional to safely remove and dispose of asbestos for you. Just like plumbing and electrical work, asbestos removal is a job best left to the experts.
Tragically, an estimated 4,000 Australians still die each year from asbestos-related diseases. That’s more than three times the road toll. By preventing exposure to asbestos fibres, these diseases can be wiped out.
Further information on how to prevent asbestos exposure is available at asbestos.sa.gov.au (asbestos.sa.gov.au provides advice and information to help homeowners, tenants, employers and workers manage asbestos in their homes and workplaces.)