Watch out Renovators for the toxic hazards of Home renovations

News >> Risk Management

Perhaps the television shows have motivated some of you to fix up or change some parts of your home? With the warmer weather coming up, now is a great time to do those renovations but be aware of the dangers.

There are a lot of toxins that can be generated by sanding, scraping, pulling up vinyl tiles and drilling holes.

Homes built between World War 2 and the 1980’s are likely to contain asbestos. Asbestos was used in the internal wall linings, ceilings and external fibro sheeting because of its insulation properties. It was also used in roofing. Breathing in the Dust created from breaking these materials up, can lead to asbestos related diseases such as Asbestosis and Mesothelioma. In fact, one little speck of this dust breathed in could manifest into one of these diseases. If unsure if you have these materials, call an expert such as Tracey Sims, from Cameron & Sims. For around $50, she can take a sample and have it tested for you. She can also assist in making arrangements in having it removed safely. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Then there are the older homes painted with leaded paint. Unleaded paint is a relatively recent invention so original paint work painted over many times will hide these potential hazards. Sanding or scraping can release the resulting dust into the air. This link takes you to more information about this hazard. Lead in House Paint. Also check out this information from the Lead Group.

Then there is also the danger being found in many applications that have used chip board. Particularly the foreign imported product which has been found to contain Formaldehyde. It has also been found in plywood. Formaldehyde is also emitted from other composite boards, furniture - chairs, lounges, bookshelves, kitchen cupboards, cabinets, etc, glued items - ornaments, utensils, etc;  paints; carpets; insulation materials; cleaning fluids, etc. In the USA, there have been recent alerts about this chemical which you can read here. Also, here is a news article from Australian News.

Scary stuff? It would be easy to say, leave home renovations to the skilled tradesman, but even they can get it wrong. Most will have public liability cover but an Asbestos exclusion is usually applied. Besides, some of these diseases can take years to manifest and that Tradesman could be long gone.

Managing the risk is the most effective way. Having an expert analyse your risk is the most effective way.

As mentioned, Asbestos is without doubt the big killer. For a check up on whether your property has Asbestos contained within it, call Tracey Sims on 07 3357 3353 or 0407 020 417 or send her an email at Their web site is

It does not cost much to check out these risks and could be the best $50 ever spent.

Last changed: Sep 19 2011 at 4:09 PM


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