Deadly warning for DIY home renovators

Renovators are being reminded of the hazard of a deadly material found in one in three houses. 

About 4000 people die each year from cancer and other asbestos-related diseases - three times the national road toll.

In the lead up to the 20th anniversary of Australia banning the use of the mineral, do-it-yourself renovators are being urged to be wary of the health risks to their families and neighbours who might be exposed.

Asbestos exists in millions of buildings and structures across Australia, including in one in three homes.

Frequent extreme weather events such as floods and fire, are also boosting the risk of exposure and contamination of the environment.

If the material is found in a home, it must be professionally removed by a licensed asbestos removalist.

Australia banned the material in December 2003, but Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council chair Paul Bastian said the risks were far from over.

“Australia is paying a devastating price for our past use of asbestos, having one of the highest death rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world," he said.

"There is a concern that a growing number of DIY renovators are next in line for exposure and disease."

Mr Bastian called on tradies and home owners not to cut corners to save costs. 

"Know where asbestos is before starting work and don’t touch it if you don’t have the training and equipment to remove it safely - use a licensed asbestos professional instead," he said.

A home built before 1990 is likely to contain asbestos-containing materials, particularly in kitchen and bathroom areas.

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