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National Asbestos Awareness Campaign

Asbestos is a killer that continues to claim the lives of Australians including men, women and young adults years after it was banned in Australia in 2003.  To save lives we’re on a mission to educate more Australian’s than ever before about potentially dangerous asbestos products still lurking in one third of Aussie homes.

After losing a dear friend and colleague to mesothelioma, veteran movie actor and national awareness campaign ambassador Mr John Jarrat could rightfully reflect on “the memory of what asbestos did to my mate Harold Hopkins and that it might have been avoided still fills me with deep sadness. Harold is among the countless Australian’s whose lives have been lost because they inhaled asbestos fibres.” 

Former DIY renovator and tradie Mr Jarrat said “ I’ve met many, many people who like me, have lost someone dear to them and been unnecessarily exposed to asbestos fibres.  Friends, grandparents, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and tragically, even grandchildren have succumbed to asbestos-related diseases because they inhaled asbestos fibres.”

The First Wave of victims were the miners and manufacturers of asbestos and their wives who died from mesothelioma when they breathed in fibres while washing their husbands work clothes. The Second Wave of asbestos-related deaths were tradies who’d worked with asbestos-containing products. Their partners also became victims and sometimes even children who’d inhaled fibres died in their early 20s before their lives had even begun.

In recent times in what’s been dubbed the ‘Third Wave’ of victims, homeowners, DIYers and tradies have been identified as those most at risk when they renovate homes, unknowingly disturb asbestos and inhale the fibres that can kill.

Asbestos is not a thing of the past.  It remains an ever-present danger. If managed safely and products remain undisturbed, sealed and in good condition asbestos doesn’t pose a health risk. However, asbestos remains in one in every three Aussie homes and if disturbed releasing fibres that can be inhaled, lives can be at risk.

Asbestos is not just in fibro homes. Any brick, weatherboard, fibro or clad home, even apartments built or renovated before 1987 will contain asbestos in some form or another. Asbestos could be lurking under floor coverings, in walls, behind wallpaper, under floor and wall tiles, in eaves, garages, carports, sheds, bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, roofs, fences and even concrete paths.

With the current popularity of DIY and home renovations increasing, now more than ever before Australian’s must take the warnings seriously to prevent this avoidable and tragic loss of life and Get to Know Asbestos this November!

Visit today to learn what asbestos products might look like, where they might be lurking in homes and how to manage it safely. It’s not worth the risk!An initiative of the Asbestos Education Committee working in partnership with the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and supported by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities, Australia’s leading National Asbestos Awareness Month Campaign throughout November educates homeowners, renovators, handymen and tradespeople about the dangers of asbestos and how to manage it safely.

Asbestos is not only found in fibro homes. Australia was among one of the largest consumers of asbestoscontaining materials in the world with asbestos-containing products still found in 1 in 3 brick, weatherboard, fibro or clad homes built or renovated before 1987.  

Asbestos was used in the manufacture of a broad range of products.  It could be anywhere! Under floor coverings including carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, garages, roofs, around hot water pipes, fences, extensions to homes, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm structures, chook sheds and even dog kennels. 

Without knowing where these types of asbestos-containing products might be located or how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely, Australian’s play a risky game of ‘Renovation Roulette’ if they disturb asbestos-containing materials and release fibres that can be inhaled which may cause asbestos-related diseases including malignant mesothelioma.  

There is no cure for mesothelioma, a cancer that can develop between 20-50 years after inhaling asbestos fibres – the average survival time is just 10-12 months following diagnosis.  Inhaling asbestos fibres can also cause lung cancer, asbestosis and benign pleural disease. Because there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres, it’s extremely important for all Australians to safely manage asbestoscontaining materials that might be found in and around their homes.  

Australia’s National Asbestos Awareness Month Campaign has been internationally recognised in academic journals (Tom Douglas, Senior Research Fellow University of Oxford) as a world-leading asbestos awareness and education campaign in the prevention of asbestos-related diseases.

The National Asbestos Awareness Month Campaign is the initiative of the Asbestos Education Committee working in partnership with the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and supported by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities.

Launched in 2011, the campaign became a national initiative in 2012 with the aim of increasing awareness of the dangers of asbestos among homeowners, renovators and tradespersons and has been internationally recognised as a world leading community health education campaign featuring in the prevention of asbestos-related diseases