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Issue #1711      November 18, 2015

Asbestos awareness month

On Monday November 2, Don Burke OAM, Ambassador for national Asbestos Awareness Month (1-30 November) issued a heartfelt plea to every Australian to make it their business to Get to kNOw Asbestos this NOvember!

Joining the Asbestos Education Committee (AEC), the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) and the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA), Don said, “There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres therefore it’s vital that we all learn about the risks of disturbing asbestos, how to identify products and most importantly; how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely.

“The grave concern we share is that without knowing where asbestos might be located in and around homes, and without knowing how to manage it safely, people are playing “Renovation Roulette” and putting their health and the health of families and bystanders at risk if they release asbestos fibres into the air which can be inhaled and cause life-threatening diseases.

“We know that at least 1 in 3 Australian homes contain asbestos in some form or another and with the popularity of renovation programs rising, inspiring a boom in home renovations, homeowners, renovators, tradies and handymen must make it their business to Get to kNOw Asbestos this NOvember by visiting asbestosawareness.com.au to protect themselves and families from dangerous asbestos fibres,” Don said.

Peter Dunphy, Chair of the Asbestos Education Committee heading the national Asbestos Awareness Month campaign said, “Because Australia was among the highest consumers of asbestos products in the world, asbestos-containing materials are common in homes built or renovated before 1987 with a broad range of products still commonly found in and around brick, weatherboard, fibro and clad homes.

“People would be surprised at where they might find the hidden danger of asbestos. It could be anywhere! Under floor coverings such as carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, garages, roofs, around hot water pipes, fences, extensions to homes, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm sheds, chook sheds and even dog kennels.

“By visiting asbestosawareness.com.au people will be able to take the 20 Point Safety Check and easily search to identify the sorts of products to look for, the locations of where they might be found and learn how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely,” he said.

Barry Robson, President of the ADFA and long-time campaigner and advocate for workers and families affected by asbestos-related diseases said, “Renovators risk exposing themselves and families to asbestos fibres if they don’t know where asbestos might be in their homes.

“Tradespeople are particularly vulnerable as they can come into contact with asbestos-containing materials on the job every day so they must be doubly aware of where it might be and what to do to prevent releasing fibres that can be inhaled.

“When it comes to asbestos, don’t play Renovation Roulette! Don’t cut it! Don’t drill it! Don’t drop it! Don’t sand it! Don’t saw it! Don’t scrape it! Don’t scrub it! Don’t dismantle it! Don’t tip it! Don’t waterblast it! Don’t demolish it! And whatever you do ... Don’t dump it!”

Next article – Film Review – Suffragette

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