Monday 25 November kicks off National Asbestos Awareness Week, and AVA is calling on Australians not to be complacent about the dangers of harmful asbestos fibres.
With the theme of "Asbestos lurks in more places than you'd think", AVA is joining hundreds of government and non-government organisations in encouraging Australians to be aware of where asbestos might be found.
It's a fact of life that living in Australian means living with asbestos – Australia was one of the highest worldwide users of asbestos through history, and despite its use being banned since 2003, large amounts of asbestos are still present in many Australian homes, workplaces and the environment.
It is estimated that 4,000 Australians are dying from asbestos-related diseases every year.
At the height of its use, asbestos was in over 3,000 products and many of these products are still contained in our homes and workplaces.
Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause a range of deadly diseases including mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer. There is no cure and prognosis is extremely poor. Most people diagnosed with mesothelioma die from it.
For some time now, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home renovators have been a group at risk of exposure to asbestos in the home environment, along with tradespeople working in homes.
It is vital to ensure that homeowners and renovators are vigilant to the risks. That's why Asbestos Awareness Week is educating Australian homeowners and DIY renovators about the likely presence of asbestos in older homes – and in places they might not think about.
Knowing what you are dealing with is also vitally important, as in many cases it is impossible to tell the difference between a product that contains asbestos and one that does not, as some companies manufactured identical-looking products after the asbestos ban.
DIY renovators are encouraged to always seek help and advice in identifying asbestos, and getting it safely removed and disposed of.