Reno Addict resident expert Barry Du Bois and TV personality Don Burke OAM and have joined forces to remind homeowners, renovators, handymen and tradespeople about the dangers of asbestos and how to manage it safely in the prevention of deadly asbestos-related diseases for National Asbestos Awareness Month.
Barry, Asbestos Awareness Ambassador said, “Cancers caused by inhaling asbestos are preventable simply by knowing what NOT to do with asbestos-containing materials that everyday Australian’s could find in their homes.
“Asbestos is not only found in fibro homes. Australia was among the largest consumers’ of asbestos-containing materials in the world with many products remaining in any brick, weatherboard, fibro or clad homes built or renovated before 1987.
“To help save lives it’s absolutely critical that our message reaches all states and territories so every Australian can ‘Get to kNOw Asbestos this NOvember’.
“Asbestos was used in the manufacture of a broad range of products. It can be anywhere in the home!” said Barry Du Bois.
“Under floor coverings including carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, 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, extensions to homes, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm structures, chook sheds and even dog kennels so it’s vital we know where it is and the steps we need to take to manage it safely,” he said.
Ambassador, Don Burke said, “When I was a kid, asbestos was everywhere; in our homes, in our gardens – even in our toys. I have had the honour of meeting heroic people who were victims of diseases caused from inhaling asbestos dust from around their homes. Tragically, these people are no longer with us.
“With 1 in 3 Australian homes known to contain asbestos, their heroic fight against asbestosis and *mesothelioma compels me to continue their life-saving work in preventing more people from succumbing to these awful and avoidable diseases,” Don Burke said.
“Without knowing where these types of asbestos-containing products might be located or how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely, Australian’s play a risky game of ‘Renovation Roulette’ if they disturb asbestos-containing materials and release fibres that can be inhaled which may cause asbestos-related diseases including mesothelioma,” he said.
The two dedicated advocates for Asbestos Awareness launched the campaign at a special event during the 2016 ‘Betty – The ADRI House’ Don’t Play Renovation Roulette Tour.
‘Betty – the ADRI House’, a purpose built mobile model home designed to demonstrate where asbestos might be located in and around homes, is touring South Australia for the first time.
Having already covered more than 36,000 kilometres throughout NSW, VIC and QLD, in 2016 ‘Betty’ and her dedicated crew will travel more than 6,000 kilometres and visit 36 communities over 46 consecutive days to deliver Betty’s potentially life-saving Asbestos Awareness message.
Senator Nick Xenophon welcomed Betty saying, “Every Australian needs to know about this campaign. Every Australian can potentially be exposed to deadly asbestos fibres. It is impossible to remove all asbestos that has been used in Australia to date and to do so would mean bulldozing one in three homes.”
“Betty and this campaign is literally about saving the lives of many thousands of Australians from a horrible substance. The fact that this deadly material is seemingly everywhere means knowing the risks and how to manage it safely can save lives” Senator Xenophon said.
Peter Dunphy, Founding Chair of the Asbestos Education Committee who initiated the national campaign and Betty’s Tours said, “It’s vital that all Australian’s learn to identify and manage asbestos safely because it’s not worth the risk!
“In launching the national campaign in South Australia with Ambassadors, Don Burke, Barry Du Bois and Betty, a proven, invaluable community education resource, we’ll reach more Australians than ever before with this potentially life-saving message,” Mr Dunphy said.
Professor Nico van Zandwijk, Director Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) said, “There is no cure for malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos cancers usually occur many years after the first inhalation of asbestos and we want Australians to stop underestimating this ticking time bomb that has a very long fuse”.
“To assist in ameliorating the Australian asbestos legacy it is vital that we learn to adequately deal with the large amounts of asbestos still present in our environment”.
“Prevention is the best solution and the National Asbestos Awareness campaign along with Betty are critical preventative measures that continue to play a vital role in educating Australians about the dangers of asbestos.” he said.
If homeowners and renovators can’t see Betty in person, they can visit asbestosawareness.com.au for a ‘Virtual Betty Tour’, ‘Asbestos In Your Home – The Ultimate Renovators Guide and search the Asbestos Products Database to identify various asbestos-containing products to ensure they manage them safely.
Asbestos Awareness Month is the initiative of the Asbestos Education Committee in partnership with the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and supported by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities to provide local, state and federal governments with practical awareness resources including Betty.
For information on asbestos, click here.