Hawkesbury DIY home improvers urged to be mindful of asbestos

Safe disposal of asbestos is paramount. Picture: Supplied
Safe disposal of asbestos is paramount. Picture: Supplied

If you're thinking of completing modifications to your home, before you swing any sledgehammers, spare a thought for what's in the wall you're about to whack.

That's one of the messages of Hawkesbury Council on this, National Asbestos Week, November 23 to 29.

Asbestos is still present in millions of Australian homes. If your home was built or renovated before 1990, there's a good chance it has some.

Asbestos can be easily disturbed during renovations, home improvements and maintenance.

It is a known carcinogen and inhaling asbestos fibres can cause a number of life-threatening diseases including pleural disease, asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Asbestos-related diseases cause approximately 4,000 deaths a year.

It has been reported that during the pandemic a large number of Aussies have increased their home DIY activities.

It is extremely important that folk know what they are dealing with in order to not jeopardise their own or someone else's health.

Asbestos materials are still commonly found in corrugated roof sheeting, bathrooms, laundries, and kitchens as well as behind tiles and under flooring.

Hawkesbury Mayor, Councillor Patrick Conolly said that research suggested one in five DIY renovators had encountered asbestos.

He said that alarmingly, the research also showed that only half of those then sought professional help to deal with it.

"Additionally, a third admitted to disposing of the asbestos improperly," Cr Conolly said.

"Just like plumbing and electrical work, asbestos removal, or work around the home that might uncover asbestos, is best left to the experts.

"This Asbestos Awareness Week, we are calling on Hawkesbury residents to know the health risk, to be aware of where asbestos might be found before starting work, and to call a professional for help."

The Federal Government's Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency oversees national actions to improve asbestos awareness and the effective and safe management, removal and disposal of asbestos.

For more information, visit asbestossafety.gov.au or tinyurl.com/yxlc227c