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December 3, 2022

Renovators warned to be wary about asbestos

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As National Asbestos Awareness Month begins, Tweed Council is urging the community to think smart and stay safe when it comes to renovating, with dangerous asbestos still found in thousands of homes across the region.

With at least one in three homes built in Australia before 1990 containing asbestos, Council is urging residents to always book a licensed professional to do an asbestos sample test or to consider purchasing an asbestos testing kit before making a start on any renovation works.

Disposing of asbestos the wrong way or illegally dumping the material can also incur a heavy penalty.

Tasks as simple as drilling a hole through a wall can pose a risk if asbestos is present in the home. Once disturbed, the micro fibres in the material, if inhaled, can cause a range of health problems, many of which pose serious health risks.

Sadly, over 4,000 people die from asbestos-related illness every year across the nation. That is more than three times the national road toll.

Asbestos test kits are available to purchase from the front desk at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre for $53.30.

‘As a rule, if your home was built or renovated before the 1990s, you should assume there may be asbestos present and take special precautions,’ said Council’s manager of building and environmental health, planning and regulation Denise Galle.

‘We want the community to stay safe and be aware of the risks and know what to do in order to identify it and remove it properly.’

The asbestos testing kits provide easy step-by-step instructions on how to take samples safely. The kit includes a mask, sample bags and a pre-paid satchel. The samples are sent to a certified asbestos testing company and the results of the test are emailed to the resident.

Once asbestos is identified, residents are urged to use a licensed asbestos removalist to dispose of the material.

Asbestos waste must not be disposed of in domestic waste bins or stored on a property.

For further information about asbestos management, visit tweed.nsw.gov.au/Asbestos or call (02) 6670 2400. Testing kits are available for purchase and drop off at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre.

To get a licence and a list of removalists, please contact SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50 or visit safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z/asbestos.

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