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Asbestos warning for Tasmania bushfire clean-up

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Media Release

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Tasmanians affected by devastating bushfires have been urged to be cautious of asbestos when cleaning or repairing their homes and properties, as the danger of asbestos exposure increases if the material is disturbed, a local lawyer has warned.

Slater  Gordon Tasmania practice group leader, Brian Hilliard, said the firm was concerned about people returning to their homes or businesses to start the clean-up process without adequate protection against asbestos.

“It is important to be mindful of the risks of asbestos, particularly with many old houses around the Tasman Peninsula,” Mr Hilliard said.

“It’s often difficult to tell if homes contain asbestos, but it should be assumed that all houses built up to the late 1980s are suspected of containing asbestos sheeting or other asbestos material.

“Disturbed asbestos can release harmful dust that if breathed in can cause diseases like mesothelioma and lung cancer.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry when handling anything you think might contain asbestos,” Mr Hilliard said.

Mr Hilliard said anyone who was concerned that they may have already been exposed to asbestos could register their names and details on the firm’s asbestos register.

“Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will develop an asbestos related disease and there is no reason as to explain why,” he said.

Information about the laws surrounding the removal of asbestos and other useful advice can be found on the Tasmanian Government’s asbestos website http://www.asbestos.tas.gov.au/.