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    Home renovation shows spur asbestos warning

    Published on 8 February 2019, Friday, 5:42 AM

    Watching home renovations on the small screen has inspired a new wave of keen DIYers, however experts have warned that this is not without its dangers.

    Speaking at the launch of the annual Asbestos Awareness Week last Sunday (November 25), Barry Robinson said televisions shows such as Better Homes and Gardens, The Renovators and The Block have encouraged more people to embark on work around the home - particularly women.

    Mr Robson, Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australian president, said people may be unwittingly exposing themselves to deadly asbestos fibres during home renovations.

    The life-threatening, mesothelioma-causing fibres are thought to be present in almost every home built or fixed up before 1987.

    "Unfortunately we're heading for a third wave of victims and their families because home renovation is getting so big," Mr Robson told AAP.

    "An unfortunate by-product of this is the increase in the number of women now presenting with meso," the president said, adding that cases of mesothelioma among females is expected to surge over the next four decades.

    Asbestos can be difficult to identify, especially as it can be found under floor coverings such as linoleum, vinyl tiles and carpets, behind wall and floor tiles, in ceilings, eaves, garages, around hot water pipes, fences, outdoor toilets, dog kennels and backyard sheds - just to name a few.

    Mr Robson said televisions shows endorsing renovations and home projects have a duty of care to inform the public about the dangers involved in DIY work.

    "They have not only fuelled (the DIY craze) but where they've let down the public is not having warnings," he added.

    As part of this year's Asbestos Awareness Week campaign, organisers are hoping to educate homeowners about the dangers of the fibre and where they might be found around the home.

    To drive this message home, a portable replica house will tour the nation providing innovative information and demonstrations about asbestos.

    Professor  at the institute, Nico van Zandwijk, said it was imperative that Australians are informed about the dangers of asbestos and the best ways to manage it.

    "It's important for all Australians to understand that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres because there is no cure for asbestos-related diseases," Mr van Zandwijk explained.

    "Education is our first line of defence in preventing the crushing third wave of cancers caused by exposure to asbestos fibres when renovating or maintaining homes."

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    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.