According to an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia a new study revealed that home renovations in Australia are causing an alarming number of asbestos-related disease in men and women.
The study discovered that home renovation in Western Australia was responsible for 35.7 per cent of female mesothelioma cases and 8.4 per cent male cases between 2005 and 2008.
"Despite a ban on asbestos in Australia since 2003, new cases of mesothelioma are increasing and will continue to increase unless more action is taken to inform and assist home renovators on the way to reduce their risk," says Terry Slevin, Chair of Cancer Council Australia's Environmental and Occupational Cancer Risk Committee highlighting that the data indicates a national problem with 554 men and 106 women being diagnosed with mesothelioma in Australia in 2007.
He continued saying:
"Australia has the highest per capita incidence of mesothelioma in the world and it's estimated that up to 18,000 Australians are likely to die from this disease by 2020. It can take 20 to 40 years after exposure to asbestos for the symptoms of disease to appear, so we need to do far more to reduce Australians' exposure to asbestos."
Cancer Council Australia urgently warns home renovators to be aware of potential asbestos in walls, ceilings and floors, especially when renovating houses that were built 30 to 60 years ago as there is a high chance that asbestos in one form or another has been used.
According to Slevin:
"Most people don't know how to identify it - and if they do - they are unsure how to deal with it. This is a deadly form of cancer and its cause is preventable. This problem is far from solved and the homes built using asbestos are at an age when they are due for renovation and upgrading. That process poses a serious cancer risk."
Guide for homeowners and renovators
Written by Petra Rattue