Residents scouring the rubble of their fire-razed homes must take care so they don’t become the next generation of asbestos victims, campaigners say.
Ahead of the launch of National Asbestos Awareness Month, organisers are warning of the fresh asbestos threat among the ruins of last month’s devastating bushfires.
WorkCover operations director Peter Dunphy says Blue Mountains residents and emergency workers need to take extra precautions to stay safe.
Fire-related contamination sometimes doesn’t develop into illness for decades, he says. “The last thing we want is (for them) to be the next lot of people who end up with asbestos-related diseases,” he said.
Asbestos risks posed by natural disasters are becoming increasingly common and home renovations are also dangerous, given DIY renovators often don’t plan for potential asbestos disruptions, he says.
Treasurer Mike Baird on Thursday pledged a further $1.2 million for the asbestos clean-up in the Blue Mountains fire zone.
The extra funding comes after $200,000 was provided for initial assessments in Winmalee and Springwood.
Emergency workers stationed in the area have assessed properties and placed signs outside warning of any asbestos threat.
National Asbestos Awareness Month will be launched with a candlelight tribute at Circular Quay on Friday.