Comment: Asbestos a killer that continues to claim Australian lives

John Jarratt:  Ambassador for Asbestos Awareness Month.
John Jarratt: Ambassador for Asbestos Awareness Month.

Asbestos is a killer that continues to claim the lives of Australians including men, women and young adults years after it was banned in Australia in 2003.  

To save lives we’re on a mission to educate more Australian’s than ever before about potentially dangerous asbestos products still lurking in one third of Aussie homes.

After losing a dear friend and colleague to mesothelioma, the memory of what asbestos did to my mate Harold Hopkins and that it might have been avoided still fills me with deep sadness.

As Ambassador for Asbestos Awareness Month, former DIY renovator and tradie, I’ve met many, many people who like me, have lost someone dear to them and been unnecessarily exposed to asbestos fibres. 

Friends, grandparents, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons have succumbed to asbestos-related diseases because they inhaled asbestos fibres.

The first wave of victims were the miners and manufacturers of asbestos and their wives who died from mesothelioma when they breathed in fibres while washing their husbands work clothes. 

The second wave of asbestos-related deaths were tradies who’d worked with asbestos-containing products. 

In recent times in what’s been dubbed the ‘third wave’ of victims, homeowners, DIYers and tradies have been identified as those most at risk.

Asbestos is not a thing of the past.  It remains an ever-present danger. 

If managed safely and products remain undisturbed, sealed and in good condition asbestos doesn’t pose a health risk.

However, asbestos remains in one in every three Aussie homes and if disturbed release deadly fibres that can be inhaled.

Asbestos is not just in fibro homes. Any brick, weatherboard, fibro or clad home, even apartments built or renovated before 1987 will contain asbestos in some form or another. Asbestos could be lurking under floor coverings, in walls, behind wallpaper, under floor and wall tiles, in eaves, garages, carports, sheds, bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, roofs, fences and even concrete paths.

Now more than ever before Australian’s must take the warnings seriously to prevent this avoidable and tragic loss of life and Get to kNOw Asbestos this NOvember! 

  • Visit today to learn more.

John Jarratt, Ambassador, Asbestos Awareness Month Campaign