Latrobe City Council is urging residents to reduce their risk of being exposed to asbestos in their homes.
Nearly three in four homes in Latrobe City are likely to contain asbestos, which is significantly higher than the national average of one in three homes.
Asbestos is a fibrous building material that was used in many homes built before 1990 – especially in the eaves, ceilings, internal and external wall cladding, as well as under tiling and lino.
Breathing asbestos fibres can cause a range of life-threatening diseases including the cancer mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. Australia has one of the highest measured incidence rates of mesothelioma in the world. Each year in Australia, between 700 and 800 people are diagnosed with the rare and aggressive cancer.
“Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that poses a risk to the lives of our treasured Latrobe City residents,” Latrobe City Council Mayor, Cr Sharon Gibson said.
“By exercising caution and being informed, people can stay safe. What people might not know is that Latrobe City Council’s staff can answer questions and provide information to assist our community in reducing their risk of coming into contact with asbestos when undertaking renovations around the home.”
For homeowners looking to undertake smaller asbestos removal tasks, Council offers the ‘Asbestos in the Home Removal Kit’.
“The kit, developed in consultation with the Asbestos Council of Victoria/Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support, helps residents to carry out small domestic asbestos removal tasks in a safer manner, and each kit is accompanied by a free awareness and information session, along with a disposal voucher for the Hyland Highway landfill,” Cr Gibson said.
The kit contains all the necessary personal protective equipment people need to remove up to 10 square metres of asbestos-containing materials.
As a member of the Latrobe Valley Asbestos Taskforce, Council supports the Taskforce’s Year One recommendations released late last year, all of which are aimed at reducing the risk of asbestos exposure and saving lives.
The taskforce’s recommendations to the State Government were:
- Asbestos removal only permitted on residential properties in prescribed circumstances
- Compulsory asbestos awareness training for specified occupations
- Notice of intent to undertake demolition work to be made compulsory
- Provision of an asbestos status certificate/report compulsory on the sale or rental of a residential property built before 1990.
“Latrobe City Council urges the government to consider the taskforce’s recommendations seriously when developing future policy around the handling of asbestos,” Cr Gibson said.