Asbestos education roadshow in town

“Betty” the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute house. 

HOMEOWNERS, renovators and tradesmen will be able to learn about the dangers of asbestos and how to manage it safely when “Betty” the mobile model house visits the Derwent Valley this week.

A purpose-built mobile model house the size of a caravan, “Betty” is described as Australia’s only community education tool that demonstrates the multiple locations where asbestos might be found in and around homes and educates homeowners, renovators, tradies and property owners on how to manage and dispose of asbestos safely.

Australians were reportedly among the highest consumers of asbestos in the world and asbestos-containing materials can still be found in one-third of homes built or renovated before 1987 including brick, weatherboard, fibro or clad homes. It was also commonly used in farm structures.

Asbestos was used everywhere in homes – lurking under floor coverings including carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings and ceiling space (insulation), eaves, garages, roofs, around hot water pipes, fences, home extensions, garages, outdoor toilets, backyard and farm structures, chicken sheds and even dog kennels.

If sealed, in good condition and left undisturbed, asbestos is not considered dangerous. However, if disturbed and microscopic fibres become airborne or settle on clothing, equipment or machinery and can be inhaled, fibres can lead to incurable diseases including malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.

In partnership with WorkSafe Tasmania and the Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation, “Betty” and her dedicated crew will educate people on how to manage it safely in:

  • New Norfolk, Monday, November 20, Laskey’s Car Park, 11 Pioneer Ave, New Norfolk, 10–11.30am
  • Ouse, Tuesday, November 21, car park opposite Post Office: 6954 Lyell Hwy, Ouse, 10.30am–1pm

“Betty might be a little house but she delivers a big and powerful message about the dangers of asbestos to every community she visits,” Asbestos Education Committee chairman Kathryn Heiler said. “Now in her fifth year, Betty has already toured more than 50,000 kilometres throughout NSW, VIC, QLD, the NT and SA educating communities about the dangers of asbestos and how to manage it safely.”

“Although there’s no known safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres, what we do know is that the greater the exposure, the greater the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. Education is key to prevention and we’re delighted that for National Asbestos Awareness Month, Betty will be taking her potentially life-saving message into so many Tasmanian communities in 2017,” Ms Heiler said.

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