DIY renovators at risk from asbestos exposure

Home renovators are putting themselves at risk of developing malignant mesothelioma in later life, according to research co-authored by a UNSW academic.

Asbestos is causally associated with the development of (MM). While astbestos has been banned in many , including Australia since the 1970s, but asbestos-containing materials are still found in many Australian homes built prior to the mid-1980s. The work has been published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The research team, including UNSW Associate Professor Deborah Yates, a thoracic physician at the St Vincent's Clinical School, administered a survey by to 10,000 New South Wales adults randomly selected from the electoral roll.

The questionnaire examined renovation activity, tasks undertaken during renovation and family members reportedly exposed to asbestos.

Of the 858 respondents who had renovated their homes and described themselves as DIY renovators, 61.4% (527) reported exposure to asbestos during renovation. Additionally, 39.3% of them reported their partner had also been exposed, and 22.8% reported their children had been exposed as well.

Only 12% of the DIY renovators reported using respiratory protection regularly, while 28.4% used it "occasionally".

"Australia has the highest per-capita rate of asbestos diseases in the world, and rates of MM continue to climb", the authors wrote.

"Recently, there has been concern that exposure from disturbance of building products, including through do-it-yourself home renovation activities, accounts for an increasing proportion of deaths from MM."

The researchers acknowledged that the role of low-dose exposure in the development of MM "remains controversial", saying that one unresolved question was "whether a threshold level exists below which [cancer] does not occur".

However, "even basic precautions regarding protection against asbestos inhalation are not used in many DIY renovations", they wrote.

"Whether exposure during home renovation will result in disease in the future remains to be seen; however, this entirely preventable exposure needs to be addressed."

More information: www.mja.com.au/homepage_launch?0=ip_login_no_cache%3D0dbf0f7ddb28b24c643dcd7d952ddeb3

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

E-nose detects malignant mesothelioma

Aug 02, 2012

Australian researchers have developed a breath test using an electronic nose to help diagnose malignant mesothelioma in its early stages, a potentially life-saving move.

A sad legacy—Victims of childhood asbestos exposure

Sep 04, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—"Wittenoom kids" who spent their childhoods exposed to asbestos in the north-west of Western Australia are now developing a range of cancers or dying at a rate well above the average population, ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments