As families begin the clean-up after damaging storms swept through parts of NSW over the weekend, a leading asbestos lawyer has warned of the dangers of disturbed asbestos dust.
Joanne Wade, senior asbestos lawyer with Slater and Gordon, said media reports of asbestos sheeting being disturbed in the weekend storms was extremely concerning and served as a timely reminder that asbestos products were still in our communities.
“Asbestos-based products that have been distributed or moved – including by storms or bushfires – have the potential to release harmful dust, which if inhaled can cause a range of very serious diseases such as mesothelioma.
“There is a tendency to think of asbestos as yesterday’s problem, but asbestos-based products are still very much with us – only today we heard news reports of homes in Kiama being evacuated due to the presence of disturbed asbestos.
“While it can be difficult to tell if homes contain asbestos, it should be assumed that any home built before the late 1980s may contain some kind of asbestos-based material.
“When cleaning up after the storms families should keep that in mind.
“It is important to remember that people are still being diagnosed with new cases of asbestos related cancers and conditions.
“Asbestos related disease is not a problem of the past – asbestos is still in our communities and it is still extremely dangerous.”
Anyone concerned that they have been exposed to asbestos fibres can register their details and the details of their exposure at www.slatergordon.com.au/asbestosregister
Anyone contemplating renovations should have a professional check if asbestos is present and if so they should have it professionally removed.