*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in Western Australia.
Asbestos diseases have been around for many years. The older generations recall the asbestos era when asbestos was used for almost everything and was considered a wonder product. It was used in building products, insulation, brake linings and even in the home in gloves, aprons and planter boxes.
Sadly despite its versatility asbestos products later became known as having the potential to be deadly and cause cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer and a host of benign diseases such as asbestosis and diffuse pleural fibrosis/pleural thickening.
As the younger generations came on the scene less was known by them about asbestos and its inherent dangers as for many younger people asbestos had been removed from products and banned in Australia prior to their birth. This has led to a lack the knowledge as to the true dangers of asbestos exposure.
With the increasing popularity of renovation shows and the increasing house prices many younger people are finding themselves purchasing a “doer uppers” in order to get into the housing market. With turn key properties in desirable neighbourhoods out of reach renovating seems the only viable option for getting into the housing market. The younger generation are also the target audience for television shows that glamourise home renovation showing viewers that with a bit of TLC you can create dream home and even turn a tidy profit.
Sadly in all of this the message that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos seems to have been lost.
While asbestosis, pleural thickening, diffuse pleural fibrosis and lung cancer all require heavier exposure to asbestos it must not be forgotten that inhaling even small volumes of asbestos dust and fibre can cause mesothelioma, the incurable and terminal asbestos cancer most often affecting the lining of the lung.
While only a small percentage of people exposed to asbestos dust and fibre go on to develop mesothelioma it needs to be kept in mind how devastating such a diagnosis is. For most of those currently suffering with mesothelioma their exposure to asbestos occurred before the dangers were known to the public. Now we do know the dangers it is important we warn and educate the younger generation so they are not plagued with this hideous disease affecting the older generation. Sadly due to a lack of labelling on asbestos products and the way they were installed to homes makes it nearly impossible to identify whether an insitu product is asbestos or not. Therefore, we recommend if you are renovating a home built or renovated prior to the 1990s that you arrange for asbestos testing to be carried out before you scrape, sand, scrub, cut, drill, remove or work with the any products that may be asbestos. It is imperative not only for your safety but also for your loved ones.
If you or a loved one have been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with an asbestos disease and would like to speak with one of our expert asbestos lawyers please call us on 08 9325 0900 for an obligation free discussion.