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Latrobe Valley
Asbestos Taskforce

Latrobe Valley asbestos survey results highlight need for greater education about the risks of asbestos exposure in homes built before 1990

May 12, 2021 | media release, surveys

Asbestos-containing materials were routinely used in the construction of residential buildings up until 1990, and it is estimated that three in four homes across the Latrobe Valley region still contain asbestos today.

This is the second survey conducted by the Taskforce, and it confirms the findings of the first survey with regards to the levels of understanding around the risks of asbestos exposure in Latrobe Valley homes.

“While many people are aware of the dangers of asbestos, some still believe that it only presents a risk if it is disturbed,” said Chair of the Taskforce, Latrobe Health Advocate Jane Anderson.

“As asbestos products are nearing the end of their life cycle, they are naturally degrading and may be releasing deadly asbestos fibres.

“It is also concerning that a large number of homes built before 1990 are still not being checked for asbestos before renovations. We know that DIY home renovation is a very popular activity, and some people may not know that they could be putting themselves, their families and their neighbours at risk.

“Some know that asbestos is commonly found in places such as eaves, wall linings, and in wet areas, but do not know that is also frequently found in vinyl floor underlays and backings, and was also used in flooring adhesive, window sealants and the electrical meter box.

“There are so many instances where asbestos can be found, it is impossible to understand the risks without undertaking asbestos awareness training.

“The survey found that only 13% DIY home renovators have undertaken formal training, and worryingly, two out of five said they planned to undertake renovations on properties built before 1990 in the next 12 months.

“This year, the largest group of DIY home renovators was found to be women aged 50 – 54, and so we know that home renovation activities are very popular with women, too.

“We encourage everyone to contact a professional to check for asbestos before works commence to minimise the risk of developing lung cancer, mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. There is a lot of information available on the Asbestos in Victoria website, and you can also contact your local council,” said Ms Anderson.

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