November is Asbestos Awareness Month and Wingecarribee Shire Council is reminding home owners and renovators of the risks of asbestos.
“Asbestos was widely used in building materials up until the mid-1980s,” said Council’s Manager Environment and Sustainability, Barry Arthur. “Even though the manufacture and use of asbestos was banned almost ten years ago, it can still be found in many houses across our Shire that were built up until this period.”
In NSW, the use of asbestos was discontinued in all fibro sheets and products by the mid-1980s. After this, asbestos continued to be used principally in friction products, for brake and clutch linings. The manufacture and use of asbestos products was banned nationally in Australia from 31 December 2003.
“In the past few years we’ve seen a real boom across the country in DIY and home renovations,” Mr Arthur said. “It’s particularly important for residents who are preparing to undertake any works on houses built up until this period to take the proper precautions.”
Just some of the home building products that were commonly made from bonded asbestos cement included fibro sheeting (flat and corrugated), water drainage and flue pipes, roofing shingles and guttering, even the backing of vinyl sheet floor coverings.
These precautions also extend outside of the house.
“Property owners should also be mindful of accepting any fill onto their property that isn’t certified as clean fill,” Mr Arthur added. “Should any fill be deposited and later found to contain asbestos or contaminants, it will ultimately be the owner of the property responsible for cleaning the material up.”
As part of the month long awareness campaign, the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) will showcase ‘Betty’ – the ADRI House’ – at Bunnings Warehouse Mittagong on Wednesday 20 November.
The purpose-built mobile model house has been designed to demonstrate where asbestos can be commonly found in and around the home and alert people about the dangers of asbestos when renovating or maintaining homes.
Betty’s exterior resembles a typical fibro home but inside contains extensive audio and visual information including a bathroom, kitchen, living room, shed, garage and dog house.
“The message is, don’t play renovation roulette with asbestos,” Mr Arthur added.
For information on the safe removal of asbestos visit The WorkCover Authority of NSW at www.workcover.nsw.gov.au or phone 13 10 50 or if in further doubt contact a licensed Asbestos Removalist or Asbestos Consultant. Information on the health effects of asbestos can be found at www.health.nsw.gov.au.
For information on how and where to properly dispose of asbestos waste, contact Council’s Resource Recovery on phone 4868 0555 or visit Council’s website at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au.
Additional information can also be found at www.asbestosawareness.com.au.