Asbestos is a known carcinogen and exposure to asbestos fibres can increase your risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, including cancer.
Asbestos fibres can be 50 to 200 times thinner than a human hair. Because of their microscopic size, asbestos fibres can be easily inhaled and become trapped in the lungs. Once there, it's hard for your body to remove the fibres through natural processes and they can cause damage over a long period of time.
How can you come into contact with asbestos?
It’s reported that approximately one third of all Australian homes built or renovated before 1990 contain asbestos products.
Asbestos fibres are mainly released when people work with or remove asbestos-containing material without taking proper precautions.
Asbestos can be located in a range of areas, including kitchens, gutters, fences, flooring, exterior cladding, bathrooms, switch boards, and even old car brakes.
Health risks associated with asbestos
When asbestos fibres are inhaled, they can lodge in lung tissue and cause inflammation, scarring and some more serious asbestos-related diseases, which usually take many years, if not decades, to develop.
Exposure to asbestos can increase the risk of developing chronic (long-term) health problems, including asbestosis and benign pleural abnormalities, and an increased risk of a number of cancers including lung & mesothelioma.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a rare cancer but deadly that develops in the lining of the lungs. WA has the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world - currently, there is no cure.
Sadly, five year survival rates for mesothelioma are very poor. Only 3% of male patients diagnosed with the cancer are alive after five years – we desperately need to change this.
What's the right way to get rid of asbestos?
To find out more about the risks involved with asbestos or how to get it removed safely from your home, see our online eLearning guide kNOw asbestos in your home.