Top 20 asbestos ridden suburbs
The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union has recently compiled a report which shows a number of suburbs in Sydney’s western suburbs such as Seven Hills, Lalor Park, Blacktown and Doonside are among the top twenty suburbs in the state which are most at risk from asbestos.
Australia is rife with areas known as “fibro jungles” and these western suburbs form part of the Sydney asbestos belt. They are home to hundreds, if not thousands of post-war houses built using asbestos cement. Fibro was not only used on the outside walls but in the eaves, laundry, kitchen and bathrooms areas.
While asbestos only causes a threat to health if disturbed, many people in the community are not aware that their houses contain asbestos building materials. This means that if they choose to renovate or even clean their home using a high pressure water hose, exposure to this toxic material can occur without their knowledge.
This report also serves to highlight the shortcomings of the recent initiative launched by the NSW Government which sought to establish a public register of residential properties which contain loose-fill asbestos insulation. It is clear that as a matter of public safety consideration should be given to the development of a state-wide or national register which identifies the presence of all types of asbestos products in residential properties, commercial buildings and private institutions so that people are fully informed of those dangers which could potentially affect them.