February 23, 2019

‘Betty’ opens eyes to asbestos prevalence

Karen Wicks and Cr Henk Van de Ven stand with the asbestos awareness trailer at Bunnings Albury yesterday afternoon. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Karen Wicks and Cr Henk Van de Ven stand with the asbestos awareness trailer at Bunnings Albury yesterday afternoon. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

A MOBILE home named Betty is making its way through the North East this week to help raise the awareness of the dangers of asbestos.

Betty was at Bunnings Albury yesterday targeting tradies and DIY renovators as part of national Asbestos Awareness Month this November.

Albury Council is supporting the campaign, which has run since 2011 to tackle the rise in asbestos-related diseases.

Betty’s curator and chauffeur Karen Wicks said the issue had been around for a long time.

“We are also promoting the ‘Mr Fluffy issue’, which is a type of loose fill insulation made entirely from asbestos that was pumped into the roof of houses in the 60s and 70s,” she said.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of it, it is a cotton wool looking substance.

“Workcover is offering free inspections for people who think they might have Mr Fluffy asbestos roof fill in their ceilings at the moment for 12 months.”

At least one in three homes contain asbestos, which can be found in any brick, weatherboard, cement board and clad home built or renovated before 1987.

It can be found in kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and under floor coverings, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, garages, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, fences, extensions to homes and backyard sheds.

Inhaling asbestos fibres can cause incurable cancer mesothelioma, as well as lung cancer, asbestosis and benign pleural disease.

Mrs Wicks said the best way to be safe was to use an accredited asbestos removalist.

“We’re not saying you can’t renovate with asbestos yourself, we prefer people not to, but if you do want to do it yourself there is a limit of 10 square metres and you need to kit yourself out in the correct way and take the appropriate safety measures,” she said.

Albury Council’s Henk van de Ven said Betty provided important information.

Betty will be at Wangaratta Bunnings from 10.30am-11.30am tomorrow. Visit asbestosawareness.com.au.

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‘Betty’ opens eyes to asbestos prevalence

Asbestos legacy claims another life

Asbestos claims life of Peter Abbott

Peter Abbott

Peter Abbott

A WIDOW has spoken out about York’s terrible asbestos legacy following an inquest into the death of her husband.

Peter Abbott, of The Glade, Heworth, who died in April, aged 73, started work at the former York Carriageworks as a fitter in the repair shop in 1965 and worked there until 1988.

His inquest was told that he regularly cut through carriages which were lagged with blue asbestos and tests later found large quantities of asbestos dust in rest areas.

York Coroner Donald Coverdale concluded he died of the industrial disease, pulmonary fibrosis.

Mr Abbott’s widow, June, who is keen to raise awareness of asbestos, said: “Peter is one of many men who will die of asbestos disease. We have seen many of his former workmates die of these diseases.

“Peter thought he had only suffered minor asbestos disease when it was first noticed in 2003.

“He went on to suffer terribly because of it.”

Her solicitor, Howard Bonnett of Corries Solicitors Limited, said: “Mr Abbot’s death is another sad reminder of the legacy of asbestos disease in York.

“The dose of blue asbestos he suffered clearly caused damage which affected his later years and ruined what he had hoped to be a long and loving retirement.

“This inquest has shown that asbestos disease can get worse after diagnosis. People who are diagnosed with asbestos disease, even of a minor degree, should keep an watchful eye on their condition and seek professional help if their condition feels worse.”

Paul Cooper, a former carriageworks union official who campaigns on the asbestos issue, said: “The site remained contaminated with asbestos and other chemicals until its closure and had to be cleaned up by a specialist cleaning company at a cost of £80,000.

“The recording of asbestos workplace exposure by GPs is vitally important to identify and treat asbestos victims.”

Another inquest was held into the death of John Greenhalgh, 72, of Strensall, who worked as a coach builder at the works and died as a result of the asbestos-related disease, peritoneal mesothelioma.

The asbestos timebomb from the carriageworks in Holgate Road, which closed down in the 1990s, is thought to have claimed more than 140 lives.

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Asbestos legacy claims another life