Australia facing asbestos threat via home renovations

7 Jun 2017 by under News

GHS pictogram silhouette.svg  100x100 Australia facing asbestos threat via home renovationsMuch like in the United States, home renovation has become a booming business in Australia. But it can negatively impact public health. In fact, it’s estimated six out of every 10 sufferers in the nation today were involved in a major home renovation that contained . The trend is giving rise to another wave of mesothelioma victims, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

“A developing demographic … is appearing in the population, and includes ‘do-it-yourself’ home renovators and their families,” a 2012 report by Australia’s Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations stated. “In the absence of timely and decisive intervention, many more people for generations to come will continue to contract these avoidable incurable fatal illnesses.”

The new sources state most home renovation-related cases date back to the 1960s-1970s, when asbestos was still permitted for use in houses, but houses built during that time still pose a threat, prompting a New South Wales government official to call for vendor disclosure laws.

Currently, the state does not require sellers to disclose if their property contains asbestos. NSW Ombudsman John McMillan made a proposal to the state government last month to change that. “It should be an essential part of a property transaction,” he said, according to the news source. “With 80 per cent of houses being sold at auction many buyers will not go down the path of getting an asbestos inspection for every property in which they may have an interest.”

This is occurring in the country even though Australia began banning certain asbestos-containing materials in the 1980s and completely banned all uses of chrysotile asbestos in December 2003, showing that even in countries that strictly regulate asbestos, mesothelioma is still a concern.

The NSW environmental minister is currently considering McMillan’s recommendation.


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