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DIY buiding aficionados, beware of asbestos

Dear Editor

Each spring in homes across NSW, people start work on DIY improvement projects they have been planning throughout winter.

The popularity of reality TV shows that focus on renovations serve as inspiration to many, but before people get started it is vital they remember that 1 in 3 Australian homes still contain asbestos.

Asbestos was used in many common building materials up until the early to mid 1980’s, so exercise caution if you have a home built before that time.

Malignant mesothelioma is an invariably fatal cancer, caused by inhaling asbestos fibres. Not everyone who comes into contact with asbestos will get sick, but for some a single exposure is enough to trigger the disease.

In Australia we are now seeing a ‘third wave’ of people developing asbestos related diseases. The ‘first wave’ were miners and manufacturers, the ‘second wave’ were trades people. This ‘third wave’ is made up of families and home handy people.

There are resources available, so if in doubt seek more information. There are a number of helpful government and non-government websites, including the NSW Workcover website. Joanne Wade,  Slater & Gordon Lawyers