This March 7, 2013 newspaper article, “Renovators the ‘third wave’ of asbestos victims”, was published in Australia, but the points it makes are valid here in the United States and elsewhere around the world. To get your attention, perhaps, the sub-headline for this article refers to asbestos as the “silent killer”.
The first wave of victims were those exposed as part of the asbestos mining industry, the second wave was the tradesmen who worked with asbestos products in buildings.
“The third wave is home renovators,” Mr Slevin said.
“That’s people pulling up carpet and the underlay, people pulling out bathrooms, doing some of their own under-house work and being exposed.”
It is these people who are adding to the numbers of people being diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer….
“Despite a general sense that the problem’s been fixed after asbestos was banned around 1983.
“Asbestos was a very good building product, it was cheap and had a number of very useful purposes.
“It’s very common in property built, particularly in Western Australia at least, from the mid 1940s to the early 1980s so that means there’s still a lot of asbestos in those properties, domestic and public.”
It’s estimated that two out of three homes built in Australia between World War 2 and the early 1980s still contain asbestos and it’s those houses that are now being renovated or modified to suit new owners.
There is also a new generation of home renovators and tradespeople who were born after asbestos was banned and may not easily recognise the deadly product for what it is….
“So, the bottom line is it’s still around, it’s gone off the radar, people are still being exposed to it and the number of cases of asbestos-related diseases is still going up.
If you or someone you know does DIY home renovations or repairs, be mindful of older products which may contain asbestos during your work.
As this article points out, asbestos is not called the “silent killer” for nothing.
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