As if residents in Perth Hills haven’t had enough to deal with following fires raging through the area, they have now also been warned to be on the lookout for potentially dangerous asbestos fibres which may have been exposed after being disturbed by the fires.
Although asbestos has been banned in Australia for many years, it is still present in many old buildings and houses and doesn’t pose a threat to humans unless it is disturbed, as it may have been during the fires which ravaged many homes in the area.
Now homeowners in the area are facing the potential of asbestos exposure and having to initiate their clean-ups and rebuilds while keeping an eye out for asbestos fibres.
According to a specialist in deadly fibres, Laine McDonald asbestos in houses and buildings may have been exposed or disturbed by the recent fires and may pose threat to homeowners and their families.
Ms McDonald has warned those returning to their homes to begin the clean-up process to be aware of the risks of asbestos dust.
The following excerpt from WAToday.com.au explains:
“As residents start cleaning up after the fires, they could be at risk of exposure, especially without adequate respiratory protection,” said Ms McDonald, a Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyer.
“Once breathed in, the dust released by damaged asbestos products can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious lung diseases.
“Around 250 Western Australians die every year from asbestos-related diseases and as long as asbestos products remain in our community we continue to be at risk.
“Most of us wouldn’t be able to tell if our homes contained asbestos, but as a general rule, if it was built before the mid 1980s there could be a risk to health.”
There are a lot of homes which still contain asbestos and people who may be at risk need to be aware of the potential health side effects, which are life-threatening over long time exposure.
Ms McDonald warned homeowners that although there are ways to remove damaged asbestos, it was much safer for residents to use an asbestos removal contractor. Putting oneself and one’s family at risk is not worth it.
Asbestos may be present in power boards, roof tiles, doors etc. and if you notice these things damaged and they are old, don’t touch them. Asbestos products do not pose a health risk if they are left undistributed and undisturbed but if the asbestos fibres are released from the asbestos containing materials, precautions need to be taken to avoid inhalation by people.
If your home has been severely damaged, it’s best to call in a specialist to ensure that you don’t inhale the deadly fibres and contract any number of asbestos induced diseases including mesothelioma and asbestosis which are fatal.
Builders who are called in to rebuild homes destroyed by the fires also need to be aware of this and act accordingly.