Australian Flood Victims Face Mounting Asbestos Hazards

Victims of the massive flooding in the Australian state of Queensland face mounting asbestos exposure risks, authorities say. Thousands of homes have been damaged and as the waters recede, many floors and walls need to be removed. Residents have begun cleaning up their homes, removing walls and sheeting but many contain asbestos and asbestos-containing materials.

One resident’s house is made of weatherboard and is now dilapidated because the water damage has exposed and disturbed the asbestos inside.

“The kitchen’s asbestos, the bedrooms are asbestos, the study’s asbestos and the dining room is asbestos,” she told ABC.

“This house went under in ’74 and we suspect that they had to do it cheaply, and so every room’s different.”

The local government has warned residents not to perform the removal work themselves and to use the help of experienced asbestos abatement professionals, but that may not be an option for many The structures of some homes are on the verge of collapse due to the water damage and that would disturb the asbestos and send the fibers airborne.

There are only around 300 asbestos abatement services in the state and they will be in high demand in the coming weeks and months.

Queensland manager of Archicentre Ian Agnew says people should call the experts rather than handle the toxic material on their own.

“It’s been used in eaves, it’s been in wall sheeting and it’s been on roofs up to 1986,” he said.

“So we’re urging those owners to get in contact with professional contractors in asbestos removal, an architect or a registered builder who can come and make that assessment for them.”

Residents also face health risks from mold and mildew which can be dangerous when touched or inhaled.

Prolonged asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. If you were exposed to asbestos through someone else’s negligent care or disposal of the dangerous fibers and have since developed mesothelioma, consider filing a mesothelioma lawsuit that could potentially result in a substantial asbestos settlement. If you think that a mesothelioma attorney could help prove your illness was caused by a specific entity’s negligence, please contact Sokolove Law for a free legal consultation.