Advice from Betty

The purpose built Asbestos Diseases Research Institute House, also known as Betty, accompanied Geoff and Karen Wicks on a tour of Tasmania earlier this month educating community members on the dangers asbestos presents. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

Asbestos. Throughout Asbestos Awareness Month in November, ‘Betty – The ADRI House’ has toured Tasmania to talk safety.

Betty, an initiative of the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute, is the first purpose built community engagement and awareness tool of its kind.

The mobile model home is designed to demonstrate where asbestos can be found in and around any home built or renovated before 1987.

Featuring a bathroom, kitchen, living room, shed and dog house, Betty demonstrates the dangers of asbestos in all aspects of the family home.

Stopping in Smithton on Monday October 30, Betty was the topic of conversation for those dropping by Armour Home Timber and Hardware including do-it-yourself builders and professional tradies. 

The educational tool continued its journey of the state to clock up over 4000 kilometres and visit 28 towns.

Each week, 13 Australians die of asbestos-related diseases and a further 13 are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, an incurable cancer that can develop between two and five decades after exposure to asbestos fibres.

If sealed, in good condition and left undisturbed, asbestos is not considered dangerous however if disturbed microscopic fibres become airborne and can settle on clothing, equipment or machinery and be inhaled.

Simon Cocker, president of the Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation, says education on the dangers of the product is essential.

“The legacy of the widespread use of asbestos containing materials in homes and commercial properties remains a very real and present danger, particularly to those who may come into contact with it in their day-to-day work. 

“Asbestos remains in one-third of Australian homes and in many commercial properties built or refurbished before 2003 indicating tradespeople working on properties are at greatest risk of exposure to asbestos fibres that can kill.”

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