Background/Aim In Australia the source of non-occupational mesothelioma cases is poorly described. Although some cases are due to living with former asbestos industry workers or living near former asbestos industries, many cases are not exposed to these risk factors. The incidence of cases due to do-it-yourself (DIY) home renovation or maintenance is unknown, primarily due to lack of exposure data. The aim of this simulation study was to measure asbestos fibre release during removal in a variety of DIY asbestos removal scenarios.
Methodology Nine different exposure scenarios commonly undertaken in DIY home renovation were simulated. Asbestos fibre exposure was monitored for each location with static samplers located in the work area together with personal samples, using high flow rate pumps operating at 6 to 7 Litres per minute, with the analysis of filters undertaken by SEM and PCM. Simulations were designed to be representative of worst case exposure scenarios.
Results Personal sampling resulted in higher fibre release levels compared to static sampling in all nine scenarios. All static sample scenarios were below 0.15 f/ml. However, for personal sampling removal of asbestos cement (AC) sections (as would be required to accommodate a domestic air-conditioning unit) using an angle grinder, resulted in exposure of 13.23 f/ml. Dry cutting of holes for installation of flues in AC roofing was 2.79 f/ml.
Conclusions Exposure levels in DIY removal were found to be low for most scenarios. Use of power tools without wetting in a confined area was found to be the most exposed scenario.