The Queensland Government issued a warning to homeowners to take caution following three reports of potentially releasing hazardous asbestos fibres into neighbouring properties in Burpengary, Salisbury, and Toowoomba, posing serious public health risk to the community.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said high-pressure water blaster should not be used on asbestos-containing materials.
“It is illegal to use a high-pressure water blaster on asbestos cement roofs, fences, walls and other asbestos-containing materials,” said Mr. Miles.
“Water blasters can destroy the surface of asbestos-containing materials, which can release asbestos fibres into the air, putting yours and your neighbours’ health at risk.
“Homeowners can be fined up to $10,000 for using a water blaster on asbestos-containing materials, and are liable for all clean-up costs. Just last year, a homeowner in the South East was forced to pay a $100,000 clean-up bill.
“Asbestos is perfectly safe if it’s in good condition and left alone, but it can be very dangerous if disturbed.
“Asbestos fibres cannot be seen by the naked eye, but if inhaled, they can become lodged in the lungs, where they can develop into diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.”
Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni advised homeowners to learn more about the risks of inadvertently disturbing asbestos, before renovating or working on their properties.
“Looking around most Queensland neighbourhoods, you’ll see pre-1990 homes meaning there’s a pretty good chance there’s asbestos somewhere in the building,” said Mr. De Brenni.
“Undisturbed it won’t affect you however we all do home maintenance from time to time meaning we’ve all got to be careful.
Have a look up and if your roof is made from corrugated cement sheeting, there a chance it contains asbestos, so the rule is play it safe and engage expert tradespeople.
“Even though you can handle very small amounts on your own, why would you risk it? If you do there are rules to handling small amounts that you need to follow.
“Whether you’re a homeowner, DIY renovator or a tradie, my advice is find out if and where asbestos is located and the regulations around working with the dangerous materials, before starting your project.
“If you believe a homeowner, occupant or owner-builder is unsafely handling, removing or transporting asbestos material or a person has illegally dumped asbestos waste, contact your local Council and stay clear of the material.
“The management of asbestos in non-workplaces is the responsibility of local governments under public health legislation.”