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New app maps the prevalence of asbestos in WA homes

Media release

Curtin University researchers are aiming to map the prevalence of asbestos in homes across Western Australia and help home renovators identify potentially deadly risks with a free new app, released today.

Aimed at combatting asbestos-related illnesses from do-it-yourself (DIY) renovators, ACM Check, which is available on Android and Apple devices, offers a step-by-step guide to assessing the level of risk that your home contains asbestos products.

The app has been developed by Curtin University PhD student Matthew Govorko, under the guidance of Associate Professor Alison Reid and Professor Lin Fritschi, from the School of Public Health at Curtin University.

“This app will help home renovators gauge the level of potential risk in their homes from asbestos-containing materials, and it will be the first time that we will be able to effectively map the prevalence of asbestos products in homes across the State,” Associate Professor Reid said.

“Even though asbestos cement products were phased out in WA between 1981 and 1987, it is estimated one-third of all Australian homes contain asbestos. Australia has the second highest mesothelioma death rate in the world with about 600 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed across the country each year, so it is important we do all we can to ensure more people are not exposed to this deadly product.”

Mr Govorko said the app had been designed as a screening tool to identify and assess the condition of potential asbestos-containing materials in and around the home, while also offering further information for home renovators from reputable sources.

“The app guides users through a series of questions, aided by photographs, to identify the potential level of risk in and around their homes before they start to renovate,” he said.

“If a material is possibly or likely to contain asbestos, the user is asked to report the current condition of the material and specify if it is likely to be disturbed during home renovations. Once they have completed the questionnaire through the app, they are offered a series of recommendations about what action to take based on the level of risk identified for each product.”

ACM Check can be downloaded for free from the Apple store and Google Play.