Despite a $100 million clean-up project in 1987-92, many homes in Canberra – previously thought free of asbestos – pose a significant mesothelioma risk to residents.
More than 1,050 properties have recently been sent notices by the ACT government warning of potential residual asbestos due to insulation pumped into the ceilings of the homes in the 1960s and ’70s.
Ged Keane, hazardous materials manager of local asbestos testing organisation Robson Environmental, believes all homes identified in the first sweep should have been demolished to mitigate the mesothelioma and asbestosis risk.
“Yes, in hindsight, it would have been better to take them apart and bury them, but the asbestos legislation was still in its infancy and awareness was not like it is today,” he told the Canberra Times on April 3. “Still, a number of owners feel like they have the Sword of Damocles hanging over their head.”
A controversial decision from the ACT government has caused an uproar among local tradespeople. So far, officials have refused to release a list of the original properties affected by the installation of asbestos insulation. However, these individuals would face significant risk if undergoing work in one of the 1,050 homes.
Mr Keane says he understands how some homeowners may prefer the information not be shared with the public to protect their property prices.
“There is a lot of fear about asbestos and you don’t want to frighten people,” he said. “But no one is going to say there is a safe level of exposure to this stuff.”
Mesothelioma risk in NSW homes
Due to the wide use of asbestos products in past decades, each state and territory faces significant risk of asbestos related diseases, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and silicosis.
Protecting yourself and your family from these conditions is vitally important, particularly if you live in a home built before the ’80s or work in a trade. It is therefore crucial to ensure you know how to identify and deal with asbestos products.
Additionally, if you or a family member have been diagnosed with an illnesses such as mesothelioma, and believe a third party may be responsible for your condition, you could be eligible to make asbestosis claims. For more information, get in touch the compensation at Gerard Malouf Partners today.