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Today many people are getting in on the DIY home renovations.  But could it be threatening their health or even life?

The fears of Australian scientists and government agencies that the boom in do-it-yourself home renovations, boosted by popular television shows, would create a third wave of asbestos victims is now emerging in the statistics of people being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is the cancer associated with exposure to asbestos.

Last year, at least 50 Australians a month were diagnosed with mesothelioma, according to the Australian Mesothelioma Registry.

An increasing number of recent victims have indicated exposure to asbestos potentially came from home renovation.  Home owners make the decision to demolish their kitchen or bathroom themselves to save money but many don’t understand that asbestos could be present if the home was built prior to 2003.

 From post second-World War to the end of the 1990’s there were approximately 3000 building products manufactured that contained asbestos. This can be anything from the glue that was used to stick down vinyl tiles, to putty used on windows or in lagging that was around hot water pipes.

The first wave of Australian asbestos victims were those in the mining and manufacturing industries; the second wave installed products containing asbestos and were made famous in the bitter class action brought against building products company James Hardie and sadly there are now more and more people contracting mesothelioma through DIY projects.  Professor Nico van Zandwijk, director of the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, said there is “more and more evidence that home renovation in Australia is a credible source of this dreadful disease”.

The best way forward is for people to get a professional.  A professional asbestos removalist and licensed asbestos assessor will ensure that the home is free from asbestos before starting the renovation.