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Home renovation and asbestos exposure: a comparative perspective

Renovating your home can be a satisfying experience, but it's important to do it safely.

This includes being aware of how exposure to asbestos in old building materials can put you and your family at risk of mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases. In a post last year, we discussed tips for protecting against asbestos exposure when renovating an older home.

In today's post, we will provide some comparative context for these concerns. We'll do this by discussing the issue of asbestos exposure during do-it-yourself (DIY) home projects in Australia.

Like Americans, Australians love home renovation projects. In a nation of 24 million people, there are about 8 million home renovations every year.

As in America, the popularity is reflected in television shows. In America, This Old House has been running for nearly four decades. In Australia, home-improvement shows are among some of the highest rated programs.

Unfortunately, those programs don't do a very good job of warning about possible exposure to asbestos fibers during renovation projects. This lack of warning is a problem because some people who suffer from mesothelioma were exposed while performing DIY home renovation or improvement projects.

According to Australian data, about 6 out of every 10 people who are afflicted with mesothelioma there were involved in DIY home projects posing asbestos risks.

Safety officials in Australia are concerned about this. The head of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency of the Australian government wrote to one of the popular home-renovation TV shows requesting that a warning about asbestos exposure be shown on the screen.

This is only one example of how asbestos exposure is a worldwide problem. If you or someone in your family may have been exposed, talk with a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your legal rights.

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