Third wave warning over asbestos

Wollongong City Council has partnered with the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) in a campaign to make people aware of the ‘third wave’ of asbestos related diseases.

The third wave refers to the expected diseases caused by inhaling asbestos fibres while renovating or maintaining homes.

Don’t play renovation roulette, is the message Council, the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute and the Asbestos Education Committee is sending to all Australians during national Asbestos Awareness Week, November 26 to 30.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said it good sense for people thinking of renovating or maintaining an older home  to check to see if it contains asbestos.

“Simple messages from the institute is that if a home is brick, fibro, or weatherboard it might contain asbestos if it was built or renovated before the mid 1980s.

“The message to all people thinking of renovating or maintaining an older home, if asbestos is in your home, don’t cut it, don’t drill it, don’t drop it, don’t sand it, don’t saw it, don’t scrape it, don’t scrub it, don’t dismantle it, don’t tip it, don’t water blast it, don’t demolish it. And especially don’t dump it. The safest thing to do is leave it, and call in the experts.”

Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos related diseases in the world most likely because Australia has also been ranked among the top consumers of asbestos cement products.

With almost every home built or renovated before the mid 1980s likely to contain asbestos in one form or another; the third wave of people affected by mesothelioma, one of the asbestos-related diseases, has recently become evident and will continue to rise unless

Australians start taking seriously the dangers of asbestos when renovating or maintaining their homes.

Professor Nico van Zandwijk, a world leader in asbestos-related diseases and Director of Australia’s Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, said: “The importance of raising awareness of the dangers of releasing asbestos fibres into the air when renovating or maintaining homes cannot be overstated,” he said.

Most people can’t tell whether building materials contain asbestos just by looking at them.  Asbestos can be under floor coverings such as carpets, linoleum and vinyl tiles, behind wall and floor tiles, in cement floors, internal and external walls, ceilings, eaves, garages, around hot water pipes, fences, extensions to homes, outdoor toilets and backyard sheds – it could be anywhere.

During Asbestos Awareness Week, Australians are also invited to hold a Blue Lamington Drive to help raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos when renovating and vital funds to support the Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation and the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia.

For more information please visit or call 02 9767 9800 (during business hours) or visit

For more information you can contact Council’s Customer Service on (02) 4227 7111 or visit Council’s website.


About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.


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