Asbestos risks still a health threat

Candidate for Robertson, Dr Gordon Reid, and Asbestos Diseases Foundation Vice President and Central Coast support group coordinator, Maree Stokes at Kariong

The focus was on problems associated with asbestos on November 22 as the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA) launched Asbestos Awareness Week at About the House Asbestos Removal at Kariong.

With the theme “Think Twice About Asbestos”, the national awareness week ran from November 22-28.

Vice president of ADFA and Central Coast support group co-ordinator, Maree Stokes, said asbestos is still present in millions of homes, as well as public and commercial buildings, across Australia.

“In homes built before 1990, asbestos can still be found anywhere” she said.

“This affects one in three homes nationwide.”

Stokes said ADFA is one of hundreds of organisations working towards an Australia free of asbestos-related diseases.

“For anyone who thinks asbestos-related diseases are a thing of the past, think again,” she said.

“Every year in Australia, there are an estimated 4,000 deaths from past exposure to asbestos; that’s one of the highest death rates of asbestos-related diseases in the world.

“Whether its DIYers doing small or large jobs around the house, or tradies on a residential worksite, the Think Twice About Asbestos campaign reminds them of the dangers of damaged, disturbed or deteriorated asbestos.

“With more Australians having more time for DIY during the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to tell them how to be safe around asbestos.

“If you’re considering DIY renovations and maintenance, ‘Get in the know, take it slow and get a pro’.

“People working on homes built before 1990 can stay safe if they know where asbestos is, if they don’t disturb or damage it, and if they seek professional help to locate, manage or remove it.

“Even tradies need to call a licensed asbestos professional if they don’t have the equipment, skills, training or licence to handle asbestos.”

Guest speaker at the launch, Labor candidate for Robertson Dr Gordon Reid, said as an emergency doctor, he had treated people with asbestos-related lung disease, including mesothelioma.

“It is absolutely critical that people are aware that any exposure to asbestos can cause life-long and life-threatening disease,” Reid said.

Further information is available at

Terry Collins