Lawyers at Maurice Blackburn are helping to raise community awareness of the risks of asbestos exposure for home renovators as part of Asbestos Awareness Month (Nov 1 – Nov 30) which kicks off today.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers Principal Theodora Ahilas, who specialises in dust disease law, said asbestos awareness is particularly important for anyone working on a house built before the mid 80’s.
“Despite being banned in Australia for over a decade, asbestos was present in over 3,000 products worldwide at the height of its use, with 25 per cent of all new housing up until the 1960s clad in asbestos cement in Australia*,” Ms Ahilas said.
“Some of the most common asbestos containing products are carports and sheds; roof sheeting and capping; flexible building boards; expansion joints; concrete formwork; and wall sheeting.
Theodora Ahilas said it is a common misconception that Australian building inspection reports will identify if there are asbestos containing products present when you purchase a home.
"It’s not mandatory for a building inspection report to identify asbestos in the home and the seller is not obliged to inform you of its presence at the time of purchase;’ Ms Ahilas said
“In general, if your house was built before the mid-1980’s, it’s highly likely that it contains some asbestos products.
Ms Ahilas said that inhaling asbestos fibres is associated with a number of diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
“Unfortunately we are still seeing too many Australians brought down by asbestos related diseases as the third wave of victims are diagnosed
“This includes home renovators and other builders who have had relatively low exposure to asbestos over a fairly short period of time.
Ms Ahilas said she strongly encourages anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to asbestos to record the potential exposure.
“While awareness of asbestos and the quality of information is improving, recording exposure is vitally important when it comes to making a claim in the future,” Ms Ahilas said.
“If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos either during the course of your employment, during a home renovation or in the community, you should register your details online,” she said.
Maurice Blackburn has an online asbestos register and anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to asbestos is encouraged to register.
*taken from http://www.asbestoswise.com.au/information-and-resources/asbestos-in-the-home/