Australia faces asbestos disease from DIY home renovation

31 Aug 2017 by under News

carpenter 100x100 Australia faces asbestos disease from DIY home renovation has plagued Australia for decades, a result of it once being the nation with the highest per capita usage rates of the known human carcinogen.

“We mined it, manufacturing hundreds of diverse products, and used it in our homes, workplaces and public buildings,” Tanya Segelov of Australian based Segelov Taylor Lawyers wrote in an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald. “The end result is that Australia continues to have the highest per capita rates on earth of diseases caused by asbestos exposure, including the aggressive cancer , asbestosis, and cancers in the lung, larynx and ovaries.”

Segelov warns against what Australia’s history means going forward: home renovation risks. Asbestos is considered non-threatening to human health when it is left intact. However, when it is bumped or a wall containing asbestos-wrapped pipe is torn down, asbestos fibers can become airborne and potentially be inhaled or ingested. Once in the body, asbestos fibers become lodged in internal tissues, causing inflammation and cellular changes that could lead to the development of cancer.

In Australia, no state or territory requires people selling or leasing a home to identify asbestos-containing products. And even in countries that do — or states that do in the case of the United States — home owners still may not know every affected area, leaving those trying to do it themselves susceptible to asbestos exposure. “Increasingly, my clients are members of what is referred to as the ‘third wave:’ people who contracted mesothelioma as a result of a small exposure to asbestos during home renovations,” Segelov said, meaning asbestos-related diseases will remain a threat for years to come.

 

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