Residents of Western Australia are being diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases faster than the entire country, and research shows that most people diagnosed were exposed to the life-threatening mineral while at work.
According to WA News, 95 people in West Australia were diagnosed with an asbestos-related diseases last year, including both men and women. At least 20% of the victims are under the age 65, and consist of miners, manufacturers, and tradesmen.
“With a 30 to 40-year lag between exposure and diagnosis, it was predictable that the majority of new cases identified in this report were in the 65 and over age bracket, but regrettably nearly 20 per cent of new cases were people under 65. Clearly, asbestos is still a significant issue for our community as we are now seeing a third wave of victims, consisting mainly of home renovators and also people being exposed as children,” said a local attorney.
According to Meredith Hammat, a UnionsWA secretary, the findings are extremely alarming because research suggests that many victims were developing diseases in 2010.
“The research has shown that occupational asbestos exposure was the likely cause of mesothelioma for nearly 61 per cent of 350 sufferers profiled since 2010. As the recent incident on Rottnest Island highlights, we have an abundance of asbestos used in schools and homes throughout Western Australia.The deadly risk of this being unleashed by renovations or accidents puts lives at risk. Asbestos was mined in Western Australia for over 20 years, with much of the product going into West Australian houses and buildings,” said Hammat.
A national study by the Australian Mesothelioma Registry shows that Western Australia has an asbestos disease diagnosis rate of 3.9 per 1,000 residents, which is double that of neighboring New South Wales and Victoria. The study, which was published in the Mesothelioma in Australia report, comes after a previous report that confirmed that white asbestos was found on Rottnest Island, outside of the bungalows.
White asbestos was once used in a variety of parts in Australian manufacturing plants, including brakes, gaskets, linings, cement blocks, pipes, ceilings, and much more.
According to Safe Work Australia, an Australian government statutory agency, Australia ranks as one the highest countries in the world for mesothelioma victims. From 1997 to 2008, there were 627 registered mesothelioma deaths in the country. In addition, although most people do not die from asbestosis, research shows that there were 109 asbestosis deaths in Australia from 1998 to 2008.
Per the National and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC), asbestos use was phased out in 1980 and banned totally in 1989. However, people who worked in mines or manufacturing companies are at the greatest risk of developing a life-threatening disease. Additionally, those who worked in construction, live in homes, or go to schools that were constructed with asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are also at risk. NHMRC suggests that records indicate that Australia has had over 4,000 deaths from the early 1980s until now, and that an estimated 25,000 will die from asbestos-related diseases in the next 40 years.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, keep in mind that you may be entitled to compensation for pain, suffering, medical costs, lost wages, and much more. For additional information and for a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our experienced mesothelioma law firm today.