Caravan tells renovators they'd Betty beware of asbestos

A CARAVAN by the name of Betty rolled into Lismore on Monday to warn home renovators about the dangers of asbestos.

Most homes built or renovated before 1980 contain asbestos, with at least one in three having the deadly dust somewhere.

Betty has been designed to show typical examples of a shed, lounge room, bathroom and kitchen and curators Geoff and Karen Wicks show people the most common places where asbestos is found.

The caravan is travelling 1800km and stopping at 18 locations around NSW in just over two weeks. It is an initiative of the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and the Asbestos Education Committee.

Organisers of the campaign say home renovators will be the third wave of people affected by mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases; following on from those involved in mining it and those involved in installing it.

There are regulations in NSW that if you want to remove more than 10sq m of asbestos you must use a licensed tradesperson, but for smaller amounts the home handy can remove it, as long as they have the proper protective clothing and masks, and that they dispose of it properly.

Karen said people have brought in broken pieces to be identified but once the material has been broken or cracked it becomes "friable" and that makes it dangerous.

 

DEADLY DUST: Karen and Geoff Wicks from Asbestos Awareness showed Jennette Robinson and Keith Parker of Kyogle where asbestos could be found around the home and yard when Betty the Asbestos Disease Research Institute caravan visited Bunnings in Lismore.
DEADLY DUST: Karen and Geoff Wicks from Asbestos Awareness showed Jennette Robinson and Keith Parker of Kyogle where asbestos could be found around the home and yard when Betty the Asbestos Disease Research Institute caravan visited Bunnings in Lismore. Doug Eaton

Play it safe

 

Geoff and Karen Wicks urge homeowners and DIYers to play it safe and not play renovation roulette.

If asbestos is in your home, don't cut it, don't drill it, don't drop it, don't sand it, don't saw it, don't scrape it, don't scrub it, don't dismantle it, don't tip it, don't water blast it, don't demolish it, don't dump it," she said.