Did you know that every year in Australia, almost 4,000 lives are lost to asbestos-related illnesses?
A breakdown of this figure shows the reach and impact of this ongoing tragedy:
- 48 die from Laryngeal Cancer
- 77 die from Asbestosis
- 766 people die from Mesothelioma
- 3,017 die from Asbestos Related Lung Cancer
As a business with over 80-years combined experience in commercial and residential asbestos removal services, HTS Group takes seriously its responsibility in helping raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos and promote safe practices around its detection, testing and removal.
That's why this November we got so strongly behind Asbestos Awareness Month, an initiative to educate Australians on the dangers of asbestos, and raise money to help combat the insidious effects of asbestos-related illnesses.
For those who may not be aware, asbestos fibres were used widely in building materials before the mid-1980s due to its flame-resistant attributes. If a home or commercial premises was built or renovated before 1987, it is likely to contain asbestos.
This hazardous material can be found 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, even in fences. Decades after being identified as hazardous, the widespread use of asbestos means it remains an often-hidden threat to public health.
Raising awareness of the dangers of asbestos
Here’s how asbestos can put you and your family at risk if inappropriately handled:
- Asbestos fibres get into the air when asbestos materials are damaged, disturbed or removed unsafely.
- When crushed, it does not make ordinary dust, but breaks into tiny asbestos fibres that are too small to see, feel or taste.
- These microscopically thin fibres are so small they can remain airborne for days after their initial disturbance, capable of entering the airways and lungs undetected and potentially causing severe asbestos related health-issues over an individual’s lifetime.
Sadly, while our team works every day providing safe asbestos removal services, HTS Group is often called in to remove illegally dumped asbestos on roadsides, in paddocks, in parklands, and even in National Parks.
This year, HTS Group was pleased to see that the NSW Government increased fines for illegal asbestos dumping in NSW to a whopping $500,000 for individuals and $2 million for companies. It's a great start. And that kind of awareness-raising is part of the reason we threw our weight behind Asbestos Awareness Month.
The Blue Lamington Drive
We shared useful information and figures across our social media channels. We also themed our internal 'toolbox' meetings around Asbestos Awareness, and held a Blue Lamington Drive at our recent Thornton opening, attended by clients, suppliers, and neighbours of our new location.
An important fundraising vehicle for the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, the Blue Lamington Drive was a great success. And we're proud to have been a part of it. HTS Group extends our thanks to everyone who engaged with Asbestos Awareness Month, whether in person or online, and who contributed their hard-earned money to our Blue Lamington Drive – every bit counts.
Remember, November may be over, but the risks of asbestos persist. If you're renovating, get a proper site inspection done – don't play renovation roulette! Report any illegal dumping, and NEVER try to move or remove asbestos without the appropriate protections.
Keep the following at the top of your mind at all times if you suspect you may be dealing with asbestos:
Be aware – is it there?
Be cautious – no go, until you know!
Be safe – safely dispose, don’t expose
Be curious – if in doubt, find out!
And when in doubt, leave it to the professionals to find out – your health and family are just too important to consider messing about with asbestos.