The recent studies conducted by Oncologists from Australia have shown that the county is the second after the United Kingdom to report deaths because of Mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a unique type of cancer caused by massive exposure to asbestos. Moreover, preceding studies showed that over Ninety Thousand Australian citizens succumbed to the disease in the 1980s and 1990s. Recent studies have shown that asbestos is an ongoing problem in Australia, giving a prediction of more than thirty thousand people expected to succumb to this rare cancer over the next few years.
Australian mesothelioma patients’ demographics have clearly stated that men are more prevalent in contracting this terminal disease than women. Coincidentally, the senior members of the society are also at a peak in getting the disease. The Cancer Institute of New South Wales is responsible for collecting patient exposure data, analyses, and disseminating the information to all the relevant bodies battling this perennial disease.
Australia’s consumption of asbestos products can be dated back to the 1880s and 1990s. It is reported that Australia mined blue and white asbestos for more than one hundred years. In the same period, the county imported tons of brown asbestos and manufactured dozens of products from asbestos. The history of asbestos consumption shows that Australia has always been the highest consumer, with close to 90% per capita. The vast consumption rate was a result of bulk usage of cement manufactured from asbestos to clad houses.
Towards the end of the 1980s, most Australian states and territories began the campaign to ban mining raw asbestos, manufacturing and importation and usage of products containing brown asbestos. The beginning of 2000 witnessed the ban of use, reuse, and trading of any portion or type of asbestos. The question that lingers in our minds is how effective the bans were implemented? As it stands today, Australia is battling the legacy of previous asbestos consumption. Most asbestos products used in building or installed previously remain anchored from sewage and water pipes and roofing of our homes, industries, and the fencing we surround in our workplaces and habitats.
Furthermore, Australian National Dataset has strongly provided statistics of workers from different industries who filled compensation claims in recent years. Below is the list of sectors which has been adversely affected.
The larger parts of the Western part were mining hubs of crocidolite asbestos, which have been the most lethal. The national records statistics show that the indigenous families living in these areas and the neighbouring have reported the highest death rates of Mesothelioma in the country. The contractor’s primary reason is through consumption and usage of water from the nearby rivers, which carry components of asbestos washed away by rain and erosion.
In the twentieth century, the Australian market was fed mainly with products from James Hardie Industries. The company manufactured a wide array of building and construction products manufactured from asbestos. Due to the company’s negligence and failure to educate the public and its workers on the risks associated with asbestos, the results are devastating and immeasurable.
Companies in this sector heavily depended on asbestos as the primary raw material to produce products. As late as the end of December 2003, asbestos was still consumed in the manufacture of motor vehicle parts such as clutches and gaskets even though the ban was still significant. Today, demolishing any structures built using asbestos poses a substantial risk to the residents, and getting Mesothelioma is very high. On the other hand, remodelling these projects exposes the residents to asbestos.
Australia is making positive strides towards correcting this mess by taking palliative measures to reduce Mesothelioma cases. The State and Commonwealth agencies have been continuously on the board to formulate policies to benefit the greater interest of the Australian citizens and the adjacent countries. Occupational Health and Safety(OHS) plans for complete asbestos removal throughout the industry, marks a significant stride towards protecting workers from asbestos exposure. Trade and Workers union played a significant role in the formulation and implementation of such regulations, among many others. Furthermore, these unions were also instrumental in ensuring that manufacturers, distributors, and consumers adhere to the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission’s rules on hazardous substances.