CHAMPION COLUMN | Asbestos is a hidden danger for renovators

WSROC president Councillor Barry Calvert

WSROC president Councillor Barry Calvert

From a new coat of paint to larger renovations, Australians love to try their hand at do-it-yourself home improvements.

DIY can be both rewarding and cost-effective, but it is worth taking a moment to think about your family’s safety before launching into a new project.

November is Asbestos Awareness Month, a time to be extra vigilant about the dangers of asbestos.

Asbestos building products were used extensively across Western Sydney from the 1950s to 1980s because they were cheap, strong and resistant to heat and chemicals. If your home was built before 1990 it likely contains some asbestos building products.

Common areas where asbestos fibro may be found include: roofing, cladding, wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, eaves, fences and electrical switchboards.

Asbestos is difficult to detect because it is near impossible to see with the naked eye. While this may sound concerning, the good news is you only need to worry about asbestos in your home if it becomes damaged or when you are looking to renovate.

If you suspect you may have asbestos somewhere in your home, it is safest to leave it alone. Don’t scrape, hammer, cut, break, drill or sand it as this could release the dangerous asbestos fibres.

If you are looking to renovate an older home, particularly the bathroom, kitchen or laundry, the best option is to call an expert or ask your local council for advice.

Councils can provide localised information for anyone seeking to safely dispose of asbestos. Some even offer testing and collection services throughout the year.

Before you start your next project ask “Could this have asbestos?” If the answer is yes, then you may want to call your local council. For more information on how to keep your family safe during a renovation: asbestosanswers.com.au.

Cr BARRY CALVERT

President, WSROC 

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