There was some worrying news released in WA recently, where senior asbestos lawyers are reporting a new wave of asbestos exposure.
The first wave of asbestos exposure is mostly miners and manufacturers, when asbestos first became a common material. The second wave of is construction workers and trade workers who were exposed during construction and building. But the third, and rather alarming, wave is homeowners being exposed in their home environment. With home renovations on the increase across the country, homeowners are becoming increasingly exposed to asbestos products, as they update their homes.
Slater and Gordon’s senior asbestos lawyer said,“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.”
A recent survey discovered that only 47% of Australian homeowners felt confident they could identify asbestos in their home, despite more than 60% of Australians undertaking renovations.
Yet this exposure doesn’t need to happen. With greater community awareness, unnecessary asbestos exposure can be easily avoided. Products containing asbestos can be tricky to identify, and it can be in many areas you wouldn’t expect. Not only was asbestos used in roofing, fencing and cement sheeting, it was also used in carpet and tile underlay, carports, sheds, guttering and pipes.
The advice is that if you aren’t sure, treat it like asbestos. Get the experts in to assess it before doing any work, as the risks of asbestos exposure aren’t worth it. Never use power tools to remove anything that might be asbestos, and never use a high pressure cleaner to clean asbestos roofing, fencing, or cladding.