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

Threat of asbestos alive and present

ONE in three Australian homes built before 1987 have some amount of asbestos products used in either heat-resistant or waterproofing materials and the concern is that many homeowners are unaware of the potential risk when they begin renovating.

Yesterday the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute visited Dubbo with a vital message of asbestos awareness, as part of the regional tour of NSW towing a demonstration home pointing out the risks of building products with asbestos components.

Today the caravan of knowledge will be in Condobolin on the first anniversary of the death of Betty Lovejoy, whom the display cottage is named after.

Betty’s granddaughter Alice Collins is a member of the institute and said the visit to her grandmother’s home town was going to be an emotional highlight in a 12-month campaign to raise community awareness of the dangers of asbestos-related diseases.

She said Betty’s mission was to plead with people to stop playing renovation roulette by alerting them to dangers of asbestos when renovating or maintaining homes,

Asbestos awareness volunteer, Karen Wicks said most home-owners did not know where asbestos can be found in the family home.

“It can be under floor tiles in carpets or carpet underlay, used to insulate waterpipes or behind an electricity powerboard,” she said.

Visit asbestosawareness.com.au for more information.

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Threat of asbestos alive and present