Asbestos alert a risk reminder

Be aware: Action Asbestos manager Liam Taylor and asbestos hygienist Cameron Gray clearing the site next to the Rockingham Autumn Centre where potentially dangerous material was found.
Be aware: Action Asbestos manager Liam Taylor and asbestos hygienist Cameron Gray clearing the site next to the Rockingham Autumn Centre where potentially dangerous material was found.

The Courier was alerted to material that was found on a verge on McNicholl Street where people visiting the local Licensing Centre often park.

No complaints about the material were made to council, but the City of Rockingham immediately sent a contractor to clear the site and while the material still needs to be tested, it is highly likely it is a cement-bound asbestos product.

Action Asbestos manager Liam Taylor said it appeared a poorly executed demolition was responsible for the presence of the asbestos.

People parking on the site has eroded the bank and exposed the material which, Mr Taylor said, was likely present throughout the site.

However, the concrete-bound substance was ‘low risk’ because the fibres were not friable.

‘The most common sources of asbestos are fence sheets, and panelling on old houses,’ he said. ‘Generally, it’s present in bathrooms, kitchens, external cladding, plastic floor tiles and pipe insulation.

‘Asbestos is in around 70 per cent of all homes and 99 per cent of homes built before the 1990s.’

Mr Taylor said the risk of a slow death from respiratory diseases like mesothelioma should be enough motivation for anyone planning renovations to organise a licensed asbestos surveyor and a removalist to remove any asbestos material.

‘The cost ($300 to $400) is pretty low compared to the risk to your health if you proceed,’ he said.

‘It’s easy for a licensed removalist to remove a whole panel of asbestos but once you cut or drill into it, it becomes much riskier.

‘A bit of planning before renovating or demolition could save you money and save your life.’

– Visit www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe and click on the ‘Services’ tab, then ‘Find an RTO, assessor or licence holder’.