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