Sydney, Australia - Today the federal government announced at a summit in Sydney that a new agency will be created to manage the safe removal of the toxic material known asbestos from all government and commercial buildings by 2030. The Office of Asbestos Safety was specifically established after growing concerns over the 'third wave' of potential asbestos victims.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, despite the national ban on using, mining or manufacturing with asbestos, the carcinogen remains in many public and private buildings built before 1987. The 'third wave' of potential asbestos victims refers to the danger posed with removing asbestos from these structures and threatening an entire new generation's health.
Any sort of exposure to asbestos is dangerous and can lead to life-threatening medical conditions including mesothelioma and lung cancer. If asbestos remains intact, the potential health threat and risk of exposure decreases. However, during any sort of renovation project in which areas containing asbestos are disturbed, the risk of exposure increases dramatically.
On the heels of a government assessment of the on-going risk of asbestos, the Office of Asbestos Safety was established. The main purpose of this newly created agency is to oversee the safe and continued removal of asbestos from government and commercial buildings. The 2030 goal does not include sanctioned removal of asbestos from private residences. Instead, the assessment calls for a nationwide system in which private homes built before 1987 carry label signaling the presence of asbestos.
Further, the 'third wave' of asbestos victims also includes homeowners and landlords who may unwittingly be exposed to asbestos while renovating or updating their homes. If homeowners are unaware of the presence of asbestos, they may unintentionally expose themselves and others to the toxin. The new nationwide system hopes to curtail this potential and allow homeowners to safely remove asbestos.