Asbestos Week prompts reminder to assess homes for risk
Asbestos products found in many houses built before 1990
Fibre release risk when removed, damaged or as asbestos products deteriorate
West Australians are reminded to be aware of the hidden dangers of asbestos when renovating or conducting maintenance on properties built before 1990.
Health Minister John Day said National Asbestos Awareness Week, which runs from November 21-25, 2016, was a timely reminder for people to assess their homes and be 'asbestos aware'.
"Asbestos-related diseases continue to claim West Australian lives, so it is crucial people are aware of the dangers of disturbing asbestos containing products and take proper precautions to reduce their risk of exposure," Mr Day said.
"Most people know that asbestos may be contained in cement sheeting in roofs, fences or older style houses. However, asbestos can also be found in many common household items such as paper backing material on sheet linoleum, backing panels in meter boxes and vinyl floor tiles."
Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said owners of homes built before 1990 should not be concerned or alarmed, but should be aware.
"Asbestos containing products can be difficult to identify just by looking at them," Mr Mischin said.
"So, if in any doubt, put safety first and treat suspect material like it is asbestos.
"Being 'asbestos aware' is more than just being aware of asbestos products in your own backyard, it is also about being aware of it in the community and reporting illegal dumping of asbestos containing products to your local government, for your safety and that of others."
Asbestos containing products pose little risk to health when in good condition and undisturbed but are dangerous when released into the air and inhaled.
Health Minister's office - 6552 6200
Commerce Minister's office - 6552 5600
Homeowners should follow these tips to ensure they are 'asbestos aware':
- If doing maintenance, or renovating a house built before 1990, be aware it could have asbestos containing products and treat them with caution
- If buying a house, ask that an asbestos survey be conducted as part of the building inspection report
- Do not use power tools to drill, cut, sand or remove materials containing asbestos, as this will release asbestos fibres
- Never use a high pressure cleaner to clean asbestos cement roofing, cladding or fencing
- If removing small amounts of asbestos containing products yourself, learn how to safely remove and dispose of them first
- If in doubt, hire a licensed asbestos removalist and check that the work area is free from visible asbestos at the end of the job.