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Next Level Extensions Implores Homeowners: “Don’t be the Next Asbestos Victim”

House renovations firm in Perth cautions amateur home renovators against recent do-it-yourself (DIY) craze.

In Australia, as across the world, home improvement shows are becoming increasingly popular. The Renovators, The Block, and Better Homes and Gardens are three shows with rabid followings, and are credited with starting a DIY craze among women.

According to Barry Robson, the president of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia, the DIY craze could be dangerous, because they are unwittingly exposing themselves to asbestos when they remodel their homes: “We’re heading for a third wave of victims… because home renovation is getting so big. An unfortunate by-product… is the increase in the number of women now presenting with (mesothelioma).”

Robson, who expects a spike in mesothelioma among amateur home renovators over the next 40 years, feels that the TV shows are shirking their moral obligation to the public: “They have not only fuelled (the DIY craze) but where they've let down the public is not having warnings.”

Robson recently launched a campaign with the purpose of educating the public to the dangers of the DIY craze. In the past, mesothelioma has been found mostly in people who worked with asbestos, such as builders or asbestos miners, before its health risks were known. The new campaign, though, is focused on homeowners, and is designed to let them know where they might be exposed to asbestos in their homes.

Organisers of the campaign have gone so far as to build a portable replica of a home showing danger spots for asbestos exposure, and they will be touring it across Australia. According to the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, Australians not only have high rates of asbestos consumption per capita, but also a very high rate of asbestos-related diseases when compared with other countries.

The statistics are not optimistic. In a recent poll, 60.5% of those who renovated their own homes reported asbestos exposure during the renovations. 53% said that their partner was also exposed, while 40% said that their kids were exposed. 58% reported cutting AC Fibro Sheeting, which is the most common way for a DIY renovator to be exposed.

Any home which was built before 1987 is very likely to contain asbestos. Approximately 33% of all homes in Australia contain asbestos. If asbestos is left dormant, it poses no risk to homeowners, but if it is disturbed, such as in renovation, the fibres are released into the air, where they are inhaled, and can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, or a condition called “asbestosis.”

Allan Williams, Director of Next Level Extensions, a house renovation and home extensions company located in Perth, is saddened by the amount of people being unwittingly exposed to asbestos in their own homes: “We know that people like to do home improvements themselves, but the risks in many cases severely outweigh the rewards. A lot of people enjoy doing the work, and a lot of people want to save a little money. This is admirable, but the average homeowner should only be trying to do smaller repairs and improvements.”

Williams continued, “The bottom line is that it is simply too dangerous for homeowners to undertake these tasks themselves. They are putting themselves and their families at risk, and it isn’t worth it. They should hire professionals to do the job. We have experienced professionals who will ensure that they are not exposed to asbestos, and the cost isn’t nearly as high as one might think.”

Williams concluded, “Don’t be the next asbestos victim.”

Next Level Extensions provides home improvement services such as home renovations, second storey additions, and house extension in Perth and surrounding areas.

You can find out more about their services by visiting their website: http://www.nextlevelhomes.com.au/about-us/. You may also call them at (08) 9300 4691.