Many people have heard of Wittenoom, the small town located in the Western Australia Pilbara established to service the blue asbestos mine which was owned and operated by CSR Limited from the early 1940s until 1966.
The workforce employed by Australian Blue Asbestos Pty Limited may be long gone but Wittenoom has recently become a tourist destination for the younger generation. This is despite the state government removing Wittenoom’s town status in 2006 and degazetting it in 2007 in an attempt to discourage travel to the region.
With COVID19 encouraging many Western Australians to holiday in their own backyard people are taking this time to explore our wonderful and very beautiful state. We think this is amazing for local tourism however we are deeply concerned that people do not know or do not care the danger they are exposing themselves to.
It has long been known that exposure to blue asbestos, also known as crocidolite, can cause asbestos diseases including asbestosis, diffuse pleural fibrosis, pleural thickening, lung cancer and mesothelioma among former miners and residents of the township. This does not however mean it is safe for everyone else including the occasional visitor.
No level of exposure to asbestos is considered safe.
While casual visitors to the region may not develop asbestos diseases which require moderate to heavy exposures to asbestos such as asbestosis they are still at risk of developing the terminal asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma.
It is for this reason we are shocked to see photos on social media and in the news of people visiting Wittenoom and stopping to explore and take photos of the abandoned town and mine. The use of labels such as #wittenoom #wittenoomgorge #lungdisease #asbestos #ghosttown #mesothelioma #cancercountry and even #wittendoom on social media is beyond concerning.
We therefore take this time to remind you that no level of asbestos exposure is safe and to discourage you from visiting Wittenoom.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an asbestos disease we encourage you to contact us for an obligation free discussion on how we can help you today!