Asbestos is expected to kill up to 40,000 Australians in the next 20 years, a grim statistic shared during a recent government inquiry into proposed legislation to eradicate this public health menace.
As reported in The Mercury, a number of groups with asbestos expertise provided evidence about the carcinogenic material during a Senate inquiry into the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Bill of 2013. The bill aims to create a new national strategic plan for asbestos eradication, awareness, and handling in Australia.
Asbestos, a fibrous mineral widely used in building and construction materials, can cause a number of deadly diseases when inhaled or swallowed. Even short exposures can lead to asbestosis, asbestos lung cancer, and malignant mesothelioma, an aggressive and incurable asbestos-caused cancer.
The inquiry into the bill was held in Hobart, the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania. According to The Mercury, David Clement of the asbestos awareness advocacy group Asbestoswise warned officials that growing numbers of younger Australians are being diagnosed with mesothelioma due to exposures from home renovations. Approximately one in three homes constructed between 1945 and 1987 in Australia was built with asbestos products.
Clement told government officials that efforts to spread awareness about the dangers of asbestos through popular home renovations shows had fallen flat.
“The story we have with home renovations shows is that we have been banging on their doors for years trying to get on,” said Clement.
Another asbestos activist told the inquiry that 12 people die in Tasmania every year from an asbestos-related condition, and said it should be a legal requirement that sellers disclose whether houses have asbestos-containing materials. “We have a poison in our community that’s killing people and it’s going to keep on killing people until we do something,” Simon Crocker of Asbestos Free Tasmania told The Mercury.
In the United States, asbestos also remains a major cause for concern. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that in a six-year period (1999-2005), a total of 18,068 people died from malignant mesothelioma.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and developed an asbestos-related disease, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Call the experienced asbestos attorneys at Sokolove Law for a free case evaluation today.