WEEKEND warriors 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 their careers.

    Asbestos 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 fibres”.

    “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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