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Community Asbestos Awareness

Asbestos During DIY Renovations

DIY renovators are at high risk of exposure to asbestos. In the past, the majority of Australians exposed to asbestos and later diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma came into contact with this fibrous substance on the job. However, that is steadily changing as more evidence arises that non-occupational exposure to asbestos is occurring during home renovations and women are just as likely to be diagnosed with mesothelioma as men.

When homes that contain asbestos are demolished or renovated, the asbestos is disturbed and the fibres become airborne may be inhaled. It is only when those fibres enter the lungs that there is an increased risk of lung cancer or malignant mesothelioma.

Professor Anthony Johnson et al released a study on ‘The Prevalence of Self-Reported Asbestos Exposure During Home Renovation in NSW Residents’ in MJA that found the following:

  • Almost 61% of all home owners who did their own home renovations experienced asbestos exposure during their work.
  • 40% reported that their children and 53% reported that their partner experienced asbestos exposure during those home renovations.
  • The families of people who hired people to do their renovations were less likely to experience exposure to asbestos.
  • Just under 60% of all do-it-yourself renovators cut sheeting which is commonly associated with exposure to asbestos.
  • A power tool was used to cut asbestos products by 37% of DIY renovators. During home renovations, exposure to asbestos is common.

Of the 350 people diagnosed with mesothelioma, the 2014 Australian Mesothelioma Registry’s report found that 137 (40%) of them experienced non-occupational exposure. Home renovators made of 37.2% of them and one third of that group were female.

To prevent asbestos fibres from becoming airborne, never use the following tools on materials containing asbestos:

  • Power tools such as electric sanders, circular saws, angle grinders, and electric drills.
  • Compressed air or high pressure water blasters.

Is There Ever A Situation When Asbestos In The Home Does Not Pose A Health Risk?

When asbestos products are left undisturbed and in sound condition, studies indicate that they are not a significant health risk.

In general, you do not need to remove the asbestos when the fibres are bound firmly within a structure such as a solid cement sheet.

When bonded asbestos products are in your home and in good condition, remember to occasionally check them for signs of damage and leave them undisturbed.

It is not possible to determine whether or not asbestos exists within building products by visual examination alone.

Safety precautions are necessary prior to working with asbestos. Wear a breathing mask or an approved mask as well as protective clothing.

Your first choice should be to hire a perth asbestos removal Company that is filly certified and experienced. Otherwise you can go the DIY route.

You must take precautions if you are planning to remove the asbestos in your home. The removal process for asbestos is both complicated and dangerous. It is best to hire professional asbestos removalist who are licensed. They follow State and Local Government regulations to dispose of it.

However, the most important thing to remember if you are working with asbestos containing materials is that you must minimize the release of small particles, dust and fibres.

Updated: January 1, 2016 — 9:12 am

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