“This latest survey shows that three out of five (60%) people have renovated properties built before 1990,” said Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce Chair and Latrobe Health Advocate Jane Anderson.
“The question is that while 74% of homes across the Latrobe Valley region still contain asbestos, are people taking the precautions necessary to prevent risks of asbestos exposure?”
The survey report reveals that 37% DIY home renovators are doing their own asbestos assessments, but only 12% have undertaken asbestos training.
Asbestos was used in over 3,000 building products and the Taskforce has been active in raising awareness of the risks through the production of a new “Breathtaking Renovations” video, which also aired on television recently in Gippsland.
“The Breathtaking Renovations video shows a number of common places where asbestos can be found in the home,” said Ms Anderson, “and it is encouraging to see that the confidence levels people have in their own ability to identify asbestos products has decreased significantly since the first survey in 2019, from 39% to 23%. This means more people are aware that it’s really hard to know all the places it could be, so it’s best to call in a professional to check.
“Asbestos can be very dangerous if not managed properly, and we all need to think twice about asbestos before drilling a hole in a wall, sanding the eaves, pulling up lino or knocking down the old shed in the backyard.
“It really is more common than we think. The latest study soon to be published by the Taskforce to estimate the volumes of asbestos remaining in workplaces across the Latrobe Valley shows that while the volumes are very large, there is still far more asbestos in our homes than in our workplaces.
“In National Asbestos Awareness Week, we encourage people to contact a licensed asbestos removalist before renovating any property built before 1990. In the Latrobe Valley, many lives have been lost to asbestos-related disease, and there is a risk that more will be lost if people aren’t taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves, their neighbours and their loved ones,” said Ms Anderson.
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Asbestos Awareness Week 22 – 28 November 2021
For information about asbestos and how to manage the risks, go to www.asbestos.vic.gov.au