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DIY renovators face higher risk from asbestos

There is a fresh danger for amateurs who tackle a do-it-yourself home renovation aside from shoddy work and busted thumbs.
There is also a real danger of exposure to asbestos, which has been linked to serious health problems, according to WorkSafeBC.
WorkSafeBC has launched an awareness campaign targeted to home property owners who are considering or undertaking renovations or demolitions regarding the dangers of asbestos in homes built before 1990.
This campaign follows the results of recent research that showed that just 36 per cent of homeowners who have renovated a home built before 1990 in the past five years recall testing for the presence of asbestos prior to renovations. Another 32 per cent did not know they should check for asbestos before doing home renovations on older homes.

"Asbestos kills," said Al Johnson, WorkSafeBC’s vice president of prevention services. "The relatively low level of awareness by homeowners regarding the dangers posed by asbestos means workers and even family members can potentially be put at risk.”
In the ten years from 2006 to 2015, 584 B.C. workers died from diseases related to asbestos exposure, Johnson noted.
In homes built before 1990, asbestos can potentially be found in more than 3,000 building materials such as linoleum, wall board and filling compound, textured ceilings, vermiculite insulation, pipe insulation, in furnaces or wiring, as well as many other places. Asbestos can be released into the air when these building materials are drilled, sawed, sanded or broken up during a renovation or demolition.
The best advice for homeowners planning on renovating an older home is to work with professional contractors, such as renovation members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, who have the knowledge, the proper safety equipment – and the liability insurance – that will protect both the contractor and the homeowner.

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