Friday, November 4th, 2011 - Asbestos Diseases Research Institute & Asbestos Education Committee & Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities

Leader in Asbestos Disease Research Launches Campaign Urging Homeowners, Handymen and Renovators to Learn About the Dangers of Working with Asbestos!

On Monday 21 November, the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) will launch a week-long campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of working with asbestos when renovating or maintaining homes.

Working in partnership with the Asbestos Education Committee (AEC), the ADRI will kick-off Asbestos Awareness week with the launch of the campaign, ‘Think Smart, Think Safe, Think it’s not worth the risk’.

With as many as one in three Australian homes containing asbestos, during Asbestos Awareness Week (21 – 27 November), and particularly in the lead up to Christmas when people are undertaking home maintenance and renovations in preparation for the holiday season, the campaign aims to educate handymen, women, homeowners and their children about the risks of being exposed to asbestos fibres.

In launching the campaign, Professor van Zandwijk, an international leader in asbestos disease research and Director of the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute appealed to homeowners, handymen and renovators to learn about the dangers of working with asbestos so they can protect themselves and their families from asbestos dust.

“We’re urging homeowners and renovators, particularly young couples who often enjoy the challenge of doing the work themselves and who are working within tight budgets, to ask themselves this very important question; ‘Could my home contain asbestos and could I be putting my health and the health of my family at risk by disturbing asbestos?’

Many Australians may unknowingly be putting their health and the health of their children, and neighbours at risk because they don’t really understand the dangers of working with asbestos or know where it might be found in and around their home.

If a home was built or renovated in the years leading up to 1985, it most likely contains asbestos and while if left undisturbed it does not pose a health risk, during renovations or the demolition of these homes, asbestos fibres can be released into the air and be inhaled leading to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Professor Nico van Zandwijk said, “The real issue with asbestos related diseases is that the patients being diagnosed today, were exposed to asbestos 20-40 years ago and so by educating families about the risks and preventative measures they can take today, we aim to reduce the number of Australians diagnosed with asbestos related disease in the future.

“During Asbestos Awareness Week, our message to all Australians who might be thinking of renovating, removing asbestos or working with asbestos around the home is to think smart, think safe, think or you may put yourself and your loved ones at risk of developing asbestos related diseases later in life,” he said.

Peter Dunphy, Director Operations Group WorkCover NSW and member of the Asbestos Education Committee said, thanks to the efforts of employer and worker groups and regulatory authorities, awareness of how to remove asbestos safely is increasing amongst workers.

“We want people to better understand the risks associated with asbestos and what is needed to be done to ensure its safe removal and disposal,” Mr Dunphy said.

Licensed asbestos removalists have specialist knowledge about different types and forms of asbestos including how to safely handle and remove asbestos material.

Visit to find out about regulations and obligations regarding asbestos removal.

Professor van Zandwijk said, “In the lead-up to and during this holiday season, we’re urging Australians to visit to learn where asbestos might be found in the home and how to manage it safely.

Importantly, if you find asbestos 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 waterblast it! Don’t demolish it! And whatever you do... Don’t dump it!”

Visit for information on managing asbestos in and around the home.

The Asbestos Diseases Research Institute is Australia’s leading research institution into asbestos-related diseases. It is a charitable, not-for-profit foundation dedicated to paving a better future for all those Australians exposed to asbestos fibres while being instrumental in determining effective preventative measures. The ADRI has also coordinated experts from around Australia to draft uniform national guidelines for the treatment of mesothelioma.

During Asbestos Awareness Week, the ADRI is appealing for donations to help support this vital research into asbestos related diseases including pleural disease, asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
To support the ADRI in its medical research endeavours please call 02 9767 9800 (during business hours) or visit Donations of $2.00 or more will be gratefully received and are fully tax deductible.


For detailed Journalist Notes or to arrange an interview with spokespersons and representatives of the ADRI, the Asbestos Education Committee or the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authority about the importance of asbestos awareness, please contact:
Clare Collins - Insight Communications P: 02 9319 3844 - M: 0414 821 957 - E: [email protected]

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Asbestos Diseases Research Institute & Asbestos Education Committee & Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities

The Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI), located in the Bernie Banton Centre, Concord NSW was officially opened by the then Prime Minister, the Hon. Kevin Rudd in January 2009. With Australia having one of the highest incidences of asbestos cancers in the world, the ADRI was established by the Asbestos Diseases Research Foundation (a charitable not-for-profit organisation) as Australia’s only purpose built research facility dedicated to preventing asbestos related diseases. The ADRI’s primary objectives are to:
1. Conduct research into asbestos related diseases to provide a better future for all Australians diagnosed with asbestos related illness
2. Be instrumental in promoting effective preventative measures to avoid Australians being unnecessarily exposed to asbestos fibres
With the establishment of the ADRI as the first stand-alone research institute dedicated to tackling this silent and still increasing epidemic, Australia has taken a vital step forward in the international fight against asbestos related diseases.

The Asbestos Awareness campaign is being overseen by WorkCover, the ACTU and James Hardie and supported by the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute. Funding for this campaign was provided as part of the Agreement entered into between James Hardie and the NSW Government in November 2006, to provide long-term funding for expected Australian asbestos related personal injury claims as a result of exposure to products made by certain former James Hardie subsidiaries.



In November 2010 the NSW Ombudsman released a report called Responding to the asbestos problem: The need for significant reform in NSW.

In response to the Ombudsman’s Report the Government supported the findings of the report and announced the establishment of a central coordination body – the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA).

The HACA aims to ensure that NSW Government agencies and local councils effectively coordinate the safe management of asbestos across all areas of workplace health, public health and environment protection.

The HACA has been tasked with developing a State-wide Asbestos Plan, a Model Asbestos Policy for all Local Councils and an extensive educational campaign to raise public awareness.

The HACA is chaired by WorkCover CEO Lisa Hunt and attended by Executive representatives from the Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Ministry of Health, Department of Planning and Infrastructure, Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, Division of Local Government, Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW, Ministry of Police and Emergency Services and the Workers Compensation Dust Diseases Board.


Clare Collins
P: 02 9319 3844
M: 0414 821 957


Asbestos, DIY Renovation, home renovation, Asbestos Diseases Research Institute,, HACA, HEADS OF ASBESTOS COORDINATION AUTHORITIES



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