Latrobe Valley
Asbestos Taskforce

Watch out for asbestos when doing those home improvement jobs warns Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce

Watch out for asbestos when doing those home improvement jobs warns Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce

The increase being seen in queues in major hardware stores and corresponding home improvement activities means that a lot more people could unknowingly be putting themselves, their families and neighbours at risk.

“We strongly encourage anyone living in a home built before 1990 to think twice before doing any sanding, wall removal, tile replacement or flooring upgrades due to the very real risk of asbestos exposure,” said Chair of the Taskforce, Latrobe Health Advocate Jane Anderson.

“Asbestos containing products were very common and widely used in Australia right up until the late 1980’s, and are commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, interior and exterior walls, under flooring as well as in heating flus and also fencing.

“What we know from a survey undertaken late last year is that many homes in the Latrobe Valley aren’t being checked for asbestos prior to renovation.

“Lung cancer, Mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases can be avoided if people understand the dangers of asbestos exposure and can minimise the risks.

“While initially these diseases were seen in people who had worked in asbestos mines, then in those working with and/or manufacturing asbestos products, now Australia is seeing a third wave of victims which are mostly home renovators.

“I urge those who may be thinking of doing some home improvements – no matter how small – to visit the asbestos website at www.asbestos.vic.gov.au for information about where asbestos can be found in the home and how to minimise the risk of exposure,” said Ms Anderson.

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Latrobe Valley Asbestos survey results raise concerns for DIY home renovators

Latrobe Valley Asbestos survey results raise concerns for DIY home renovators

Home renovation is a popular activity in the Latrobe Valley and the Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce is concerned that the asbestos legacy is putting people at risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases.

One in three homes built in Australia before 1990 contain asbestos, and the recent survey undertaken by the taskforce shows that these homes aren’t always being checked for asbestos prior to renovation.

“What’s concerning is the risk of asbestos exposure that many DIY home renovators may be opening themselves, their family, and their neighbours up to,” said Chair of the Taskforce, Latrobe Health Advocate Jane Anderson.

“In many cases it is impossible to tell the difference between a product that contains asbestos and one that does not. Licensed professionals will determine if asbestos is present or not only through laboratory testing.

 “While licensed professionals are conducting around 1 in 5 asbestos assessments, we’d like to see more licensed professionals checking older properties to ensure that any asbestos present is identified and dealt with appropriately.

“We want to ensure the health and safety of everyone is considered when doing home renovations – DIY renovators and their families and neighbours, apprentices, tradespeople, and anyone who may go onto a property being renovated.

“There is available advice and information for DIY home renovators about identifying, removing and disposing of asbestos on the asbestos website, which is the best place to start,” said Ms Anderson.

Asbestos website: www.asbestos.vic.gov.au

Key DIY home renovator statistics from the survey:

  • 56% of those renovating properties built before 1990 are undertaking an asbestos assessment.
  • 36% are doing the asbestos assessment themselves.
  • Of those who do undertake asbestos assessments, 22% are contracting licensed professionals to perform the assessment.

Also see: Latrobe Valley Asbestos Survey Results

Latrobe Valley Asbestos survey results raise concerns for DIY home renovators

It’s National Asbestos Awareness Week, and a reminder to everyone not to be complacent about the dangers of harmful asbestos fibres.

With the theme of “Asbestos lurks in more places than you’d think”, the Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce is joining hundreds of government and non-government organisations, in encouraging Australians to be aware of where asbestos might be found.

It’s a fact of life that living in Australian means living with asbestos – Australia was one of the highest worldwide users of asbestos through history, and despite a nationwide ban coming into effect in 2004, large amounts of asbestos are still present in many Australian homes, workplaces and the environment.

In the Latrobe Valley, asbestos was used widely in the construction of power stations and also in homes for power station workers. Asbestos was used in over 3,000 products and many of these products are still contained in our homes and workplaces.

Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause a range of deadly diseases including mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer. There is no cure and prognosis is extremely poor. The Latrobe Valley has a higher rate of mesothelioma amongst males than any other regional or rural area in the state.

It is estimated that 4,000 Australians are dying from asbestos-related diseases every year. This is twice the annual road toll.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home renovators have been identified as a group at risk of exposure to asbestos in the home environment, along with tradespeople working in homes.

Homeowners and renovators need to be vigilant about the risks of asbestos exposure, particularly in older homes – and in places they might not think about. In many cases it is impossible to tell the difference between a product that contains asbestos and one that does not.

DIY home renovators are encouraged to always seek help and advice in identifying, removing and disposing of asbestos.

The Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce is raising awareness and also conducting a survey about asbestos in the Latrobe Valley: https://engage.vic.gov.au/latrobe-valley-asbestos-benchmark-survey

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Hard copies of the survey available by contacting:
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
71 Hotham Street, Traralgon VIC 3844. Tel: 03 5172 2111

The taskforce Terms of Reference and membership group can be viewed here

Latrobe Valley Asbestos survey results raise concerns for DIY home renovators

The Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce has launched the first benchmark survey about asbestos in the Latrobe Valley.

The Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce was commissioned in early 2019 and brings together government agencies, councils, local groups and unions to review how asbestos is managed in the Latrobe Valley.

The taskforce will assess current waste handling processes and safety practices, develop a plan for the management, demolition, transportation and disposal of asbestos material for all Latrobe Valley sites and locations, including domestic and commercial.

“The taskforce has been meeting regularly and has developed a strategic plan around four key focus areas; Asbestos Management, Regulations, Enforcement and Awareness Raising,” said independent Chair and Latrobe Health Advocate Jane Anderson.

“One of the things we know is that the dangers of asbestos are not fully understood, and so we will be developing an awareness campaign to address that,” said Ms Anderson.

 “Australia is now seeing what is referred to as a third wave of asbestos victims. The first wave of victims included people involved in the mining and transportation of asbestos, and the second wave included people who worked with asbestos products. The third wave includes people who haven’t been exposed to asbestos in the workplace but are developing asbestos related diseases. They are mostly home renovators.

“We hope that as many people as possible can set aside a little bit of time to complete the survey, so that the taskforce can develop a campaign that will be the most effective in reaching the wider community in the most effective way possible.

 “This survey is an important first step in understanding community concerns, awareness of, and attitudes towards asbestos in the Latrobe Valley,” said Ms Anderson, “we need to get the message out that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure.”

Survey link: https://engage.vic.gov.au/latrobe-valley-asbestos-benchmark-survey

Hard copies available by contacting:
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
71 Hotham Street, Traralgon VIC 3844
Tel: 03 5172 2111