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are playing “renovation roulette” — with asbestos fuelling a “third wave” of
cancer victims, according to experts.
Spurred on by
popular DIY and home makeover shows, domestic exposure — specifically in women
— is among the fastest growing causes of asbestos-related diseases.
No longer an
“old man’s disease”, this third wave follows the initial “snowmen” who worked
in asbestos mines and factories in the 1930s and later the tradies such as
builders, roofers and mechanics exposed to the deadly fibres during much of
Diseases Research Institute professor Nico van Zandwijk said “statistics are
suggesting that an increasing number of mesothelioma victims were exposed to
asbestos fibres in non- occupational settings such as home renovation and
maintenance including women and children.
In the lead-up
to November — which is Asbestos Awareness Month — Asbestos Education Committee
chairman Peter Dunphy said there was “no safe level of exposure to asbestos
“With at least
one-in-three Australian homes containing asbestos, many homeowners, renovators,
tradies and handymen are putting their health and the health of families at
risk when doing home renovations,” he said.
A study in the
Medical Journal of Australia found 60 per cent of DIY renovators reported being
exposed to asbestos dust, 53 said their partner had been exposed and 40 per
cent said their children were.
Another study in
the same journal found the number of home renovation cases had soared from five
per cent of all malignant mesothelioma cases in women during the 1990s to more
than 35 per cent between 2005 and 2008.
Over his 30-year
career as a master builder, host of The Living Room Barry Du Bois said it was
“scary” to think about how often he worked with asbestos.
Du Bois has now
become an asbestos awareness ambassador, using his celebrity profile to alert
people to the dangers.
The Courier Mail, 13/10/2014
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