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Homeowners affected by bushfires are being urged to avoid any exposure to asbestos while clearing their properties.
Until the late 1980s, the deadly fibre was commonly used in roofing, sheet walls, ceilings and in moulded products.
In New South Wales, 31 of the 36 properties inspected after the Coonabarabran fires contained asbestos.
WorkSafe Victoria’s Lisa Sturzenegger says asbestos fibres are particularly dangerous when exposed to high temperatures.
“It becomes friable, is the term, and that makes it very crumbly and then the fibres can float around and they can become lodged in people’s lungs and stay there for a number of years and can have very tragic consequences,” she said.
She says many homes affected by the Black Saturday bushfires also contained the fibre.
“Unless they were properties built post-1980 then there’s a high probability they would have had asbestos containing material,” she said.
“So a large number of properties in the Kinglake area, in the Marysville area, they were all built before [the] 1980s, so all of those areas had a team of asbestos removal experts to help.”