Get to kNOw asbestos this NOvember!

'Get to kNOw Asbestos this NOvember’ aims to educate Australians about the dangers of asbestos in and around homes because Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world.

With asbestos-related diseases continuing to increase among Australians as a direct result of exposure to asbestos fibres during home renovations and maintenance, the importance of raising awareness about the dangers of asbestos and how best to manage it in and around homes, cannot be overstated.

During Asbestos Awareness Month, 1-30 November, we aim to educate as many Australians as possible about the dangers of asbestos and how best to manage it.

Many wrongly believe that ONLY fibro homes contain asbestos. Asbestos products can most likely be found in ANY Australian home built or renovated before 1987 even brick, weatherboard, fibro and clad homes.

Asbestos can be found under floor coverings such as carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings, eaves, garages, around hot water pipes, fences, extensions to homes, outdoor toilets, dog kennels, chook yards and backyard sheds – it could be anywhere.

It’s vital that Australians take the warnings seriously, that they stop playing ‘renovation roulette’ and protect themselves and their families from exposure to asbestos fibres during renovations and maintenance.

Australians need to think smart, think safe, think asbestosawareness.com.au – it’s not worth the risk.

» Find out more about how to safely dispose of asbestos.

STOP before you clean!

Did you know that using water blasters on asbestos containing materials, including asbestos cement roofs, is illegal?

Asbestos containing materials (such as fibrous cement or ‘Super Six’) must not be cleaned using a water blaster. Cleaning asbestos containing materials, including a ‘fibro’ roof, with a high pressure water blaster is illegal as it can destroy the surface, cause cement debris and asbestos to spray into the air, and result in widespread contamination. It is very difficult to contain asbestos fibres released during the process and very expensive to clean up. It puts you and your neighbours’ health at risk. Homeowners can be fined up to $10,000 for water blasting asbestos containing materials, as well as any additional costs associated with clean-up. Businesses may face heavier fines.

Well maintained asbestos cement roofs are not a risk to human health unless they are physically disturbed or being worked on. They can be left alone until they are no longer water tight. Commercial fungicides and sealants have been developed that can be applied to fibro roofs, avoiding the need to clean them. Instead of cleaning an asbestos cement roof or other asbestos containing material, apply a fungicide or sealant or consider replacing it. You can find out more about sealants and fungicides from your local roof restoration company, paint supplier or hardware store.

For more information visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or call the Workplace Health and Safety Infoline on 1300 369 915.