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Date PostedOctober 29, 2013

Doctors Fear DIY Homeowners Regularly Exposed to Asbestos

Doctors in NSW have expressed their concern over the number of potential asbestos victims in Oz. According to them homeowners embarking on do-it-yourself renovations are probably being regularly exposed to asbestos.

Families and children may be exposed to harmful, cancer-causing asbestos fibres, according to a study of NSW residents.

According to a post on Smh.com.au experts fear that despite numerous warnings, Australians are still not taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves from asbestos-related diseases. The findings of the study are particularly alarming considering the horrible, irreversible nature of asbestos related diseases and the fact that they are completely preventable.

The study reviewed the cases of almost 860 people who had recently undertaken home DIY renovations and found that more than 61 per cent admitted to being exposed to asbestos. In addition to this alarming statistics, more than 1 in five admitted that their children were also exposed.

People need to realise the risks associated with asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer are just some of the fatal, irreversible conditions that prolonged or regular exposure to the deadly fibres can induce.

This post from Smh.com.au explains further:

art-sa-renovators-20130915184750521001-620x349‘There is no safe level of exposure,” said Dr Johnson, a respiratory physician from the Liverpool area. ”We don’t want to scare people, because the overall health risks are low, but we do see people who have mesothelioma and the only exposure they can recall is something like this.”

Dr Johnson said, on average, mesothelioma would only develop 42 years after exposure.

”Asbestos was removed from fibro around 1984,” he said. ”But we are worried we are going to keep seeing cases for the next 40 years if people keep getting exposed.”

”It’s a horrible disease but it’s completely preventable”.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/doctors-brace-for-40-years-of-asbestos-illness-20130915-2tstp.html#ixzz2f30JRJeG

The study which was published on Monday in the Medical Journal of Australia found that one third of people that were exposed to asbestos had cut directly into asbestos containing building materials. One in four of them had drilled into these materials and one in ten had sanded them down, this is problematic because all these activities release asbestos fibres into the air, to be inhaled by the renovator and his/her family. Inhalation is how asbestos causes lethal diseases such as Mesothelioma. Most of the people in the study (over fifty per cent) had never even used protection during these activities such as face masks.

The post goes on to explain:

Asbestos Diseases Research Institute director Nico van Zandwijk said the study was a warning to people considering a renovation.

”The fact that more than 60 per cent of people said they were exposed – and that’s just the people who could recall they were exposed – means that the level of awareness about the dangers of asbestos is insufficient,” he said. ”People need to think before they cut.”

Professor van Zandwijk said Australia had been the world’s highest per-capita user of asbestos.

”Asbestos building materials were tremendously popular in the previous century, particularly in the post-war period,” he said. ”It was cheap and it was used everywhere.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/doctors-brace-for-40-years-of-asbestos-illness-20130915-2tstp.html#ixzz2f30JRJeG


Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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