National heat-map of asbestos exposure in homes on track for 2022 launch

National heat-map of asbestos exposure in homes on track for 2022 launch

The Australian federal government is working on a national public database which aims to assist in predicting the presence of asbestos in homes across the country. The ‘residential asbestos heatmap’ will draw from existing data and use artificial intelligence. 

The heatmap is only in its early stages. It is being developed by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency. 

Chief executive of the agency, Justine Ross, told The Canberra Times that the technology is aimed at eliminating asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma. 

“In order to prevent exposure, we need to better understand the density and location of asbestos materials, particularly in the residential environment where information is not centralised,” Ms Ross said.

“We look forward to partnering with the successful company to leverage technology that will collate intelligence to allow governments to better plan and manage Australia’s harmful asbestos legacy.”

The project is estimated to be finalised in March of next year. According to tender documents which have been released by the federal government, it could cost up to $250,000 to develop the program. 

A spokeswoman for the federal asbestos agency said that the project would allow data to be centralised regarding the location of homes containing asbestos. 

“While asbestos registers exist in the commercial and public sectors, the dispersed information in the residential sector has without the aid of technology made understanding the density and location of Australia’s asbestos legacy in homes across the whole country difficult,” the spokeswoman said.

“The aim is to develop an evidence-based national picture by using existing data combined with emerging and cutting edge technology to estimate the number of homes in Australia that are predicted to still contain asbestos and to identify their geographic location.”

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