Today marks the start of National Asbestos Awareness Week around Australia.
This year, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency is coordinating the awareness message around the country under the banner of “Asbestos lurks in more places than you’d think”, focusing on raising awareness in the general public of where asbestos might be located in the residential environment.
Despite ongoing work by governments of all levels and the non-government sector, legacy asbestos and asbestos- related disease remain major challenges for Australia.
Asbestos-related disease continues to be a public health tragedy.
“It’s shocking that approximately 4,000 Australians die every year from asbestos related disease – that’s twice the annual road toll.
“And in parts of the country, as many as 1 in 3 homes still have asbestos-containing materials,” said Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency CEO, Justine Ross.
“The week is an important time to raise awareness and bring a focus to the issue of asbestos exposure in Australia.”
Asbestos awareness week seeks to inform the public of where asbestos might be located. Of particular concern is the amount of asbestos still present in residential buildings, given Australia’s love of DIY and renovation.
Areas of the home including kitchens, bathrooms, fuse-boxes and floors can be “sleeper” locations for asbestos – areas that homeowners often aren’t aware might contain asbestos.
Many organisations will also focus on raising awareness in key occupational groups – including construction, electrical, plumbing and automotive trades.
Awareness materials will be shared around the country, particularly on social media.