Renovators are being reminded of the danger that a deadly material will be found in one in three homes.
About 4,000 people die from cancer and other asbestos-related diseases every year – three times the national road toll.
Ahead of the 20th anniversary of Australia’s ban on the use of the mineral, DIYers carrying out renovations are being urged to be wary of the health risks to their families and neighbors who may be exposed to the mineral.
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Asbestos is found in millions of buildings and structures across Australia, including one in three homes.
Frequent extreme weather events such as floods and fires also increase the risk of environmental hazards and contamination.
If the material is found in a home, it must be professionally removed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor.
Australia banned the material in December 2003, but Paul Bastian, chairman of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council, said the risks were far from gone.
“Australia is paying a devastating price for our past use of asbestos and has one of the highest mortality rates from asbestos-related diseases in the world,” he said.
“There are fears that a growing number of do-it-yourselfers doing renovations will be next in line for risk and illness.”
Bastian called on tradesmen and homeowners not to make any compromises in order to save costs.
“Before starting work, look at where asbestos is located and do not touch it if you do not have the training and equipment to remove it safely – instead, contact a licensed asbestos professional,” he said.
A home built before 1990 is likely to contain asbestos-containing materials, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom areas.