Asbestos exposure has been linked to DIY renovating! In the past Australians diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma has primarily been men exposed to asbestos through work-related exposure. Today there is a growing body of evidence that more people including women are being diagnosed through non-occupational exposure including during home renovations.
If asbestos is disturbed during renovations or in the demolition of homes containing asbestos, fibres can be released into the air and be inhaled. Inhaled fibres increase the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma or lung cancer.
A study (MJA in press) by Professor Anthony Johnson et al into ‘The prevalence of self-reported asbestos exposure during home renovation in NSW residents’ showed:
- 60.5% of do it yourself (DIY) renovators reported being exposed to asbestos during home renovations.
- 53% reported their partner and 40% reported their children were also exposed to asbestos during home DIY home renovations.
- Non DIY renovators were less likely to be exposed or have their families exposed.
- 58% of DIY renovators cut AC Fibro Sheeting – this was the most common activity resulting in asbestos exposure.
- 37% of DIY renovators reported using a power tool to cut asbestos products.
- Thus asbestos exposure is common during home renovations
The Australian Mesothelioma Registry’s 2014 Report shows that of the 350 people diagnosed with mesothelioma where there is information about asbestos exposure, 137 (39.14%) were classified as non-occupational exposure. Of these 37.2% were home renovators and of those 33% were women.