With national Asbestos Awareness Month well underway, Queenslanders who are undertaking renovations are being encouraged to take extra caution when performing their work.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg explained in a November 4 statement that the focus of the month would be reducing the health risks posed by working with the hazardous material.

“Many Queenslanders, particularly young couples, who do their own renovations may be putting their health and the health of their families at risk,” he said.

He reminded renovation workers around Queensland, and indeed all of Australia, that homes built or renovated before 1987 had a high likelihood of containing some level of asbestos.

Performing manual work on these homes such as drilling, sawing, sanding and cutting had the potential to release asbestos fibres into the air, creating a serious risk to anyone in the vicinity.

One of the main threats caused by asbestos exposure was the contraction of the deadly mesothelioma strain of cancer.

Mr Springborg said that the likelihood of developing the cancer was proportional to the level of exposure to asbestos.

He therefore urged renovators to make sure they’re up to speed on the risks of working with asbestos, how to identify it and how to safely remove it. Taking asbestos assessment courses can help in this regard.

In addition, government bodies around the country are readily providing DIY workers with the information and resources to help them work with asbestos.

The Queensland Government, for instance, provides some tips on handling asbestos when renovating.

These include consulting an asbestos removal specialist before starting any work, and avoiding some common mistakes such as disposing of asbestos waste in domestic bins or carrying material that could contain asbestos through a building.

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