Council encourages the community to be asbestos aware this November

Date

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Release

November is National Asbestos Awareness Month and Central Coast Council is urging homeowners, renovators and tradies to take the warnings about asbestos seriously when renovating or maintaining homes and learn what they need to know to manage it safely.

Central Coast Council, Director, Environment and Planning, Scott Cox said Australia was among the largest consumers of asbestos-containing materials (ACM) in the world with asbestos used in the manufacture of a broad range of building and decorator products that can still be found in 1 in 3 brick, weatherboard, fibro and clad Australian homes.

“It can be in any home built or renovated before 1987 - under floor coverings, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, garages, roofs, around hot water pipes, fences, home extensions, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm structures, chook sheds and even dog kennels,” Mr Cox said.

“If you’re a homeowner, renovator or tradie, and you don’t know the risks, the products to look for or how to manage asbestos safely, you could be risking your life and the lives of others if you disturb asbestos-containing materials and release fibres into the air that can be inhaled,” Mr Cox said.

If well maintained and left undisturbed asbestos is unlikely to pose a health risk. However, if asbestos-containing materials are disturbed and fibres are released they can cause asbestos-related diseases including incurable malignant mesothelioma which can develop between 20-50 years after inhaling asbestos fibres.

“Council takes asbestos related matters very seriously. In fact, development of an integrated policy for asbestos management was one of the first matters addressed by Central Coast Council post amalgamation,” Mr Cox said.

“The comprehensive policy covers Council’s role in managing asbestos on contaminated land, demolition, emergencies and incidents, residential premises, waste and as part of development assessments.

“If residents have concerns about removing or storing asbestos, or believe asbestos is a posing a risk to the community, they should contact Council so the matter can be investigated by an Environmental Health Officer.

“The key message here is that asbestos fibres are a significant risk to families and tradespeople during renovations so if you’re a renovator or a tradie, when it comes to asbestos go slow - because asbestos is a no go.” Mr Cox said.

Renovators should visit asbestosawareness.com.au for user-friendly information including the Asbestos in Your Home – The Ultimate Renovators Guide video and the 20 Point Safety Check. They can search Australia’s only online Asbestos Product Database, download Fact Sheets and the user-friendly Asbestos Awareness Healthy House Checklist – A Homeowner’s Guide to Identifying Asbestos-Containing Materials.

The Checklist is a step-by-step guide that helps homeowners conduct a fast and easy visual inspection of their home. Using the Guide homeowners can easily identify any suspected asbestos-containing materials and note its locations to avoid disturbing asbestos and know when to engage an asbestos assessor or removalist to prevent families from being exposed to dangerous fibres.

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Last updated : Wed 18 Jul 2018