Asbestos is a mineral that was used in Australia in a variety of ways. While asbestos continues to be used in many parts of the third world (and is still mined in Canada), its use stopped in Australia for everything but brake linking during the 1980s, and from brake linings in 2003.
There are three main forms of asbestos fibre including crocidolite (blue); amosite (brown) and chrysotile (white) asbestos. The first two are described as amphibole asbestos while white asbestos is known as serpentine.
Much of the asbestos commercially used in Australia was from South Africa or Canada although large quantities of asbestos were also mined in Australia at Wittenoom in Western Australia (where blue asbestos was mined) and in Northern New South Wales at mines including Baryugil and Barraba.
In terms of danger, crocidolite is considered the most harmful to health due to the needle-like shape of the fibre, followed by amosite and then chrysotile. However, all asbestos is dangerous and there is no “safe” level of exposure. There has been much debate about whether exposure to chrysotile on its own can cause mesothelioma but the latest evidence confirms a direct link between chrysotile and mesothelioma.
Over the last 25 years Turner Freeman has acted for persons exposed to asbestos at work including asbestos manufacturing workers, navy personnel, laggers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, shipbuilders, roofers, fitters, boilermakers, riggers, railway workers, waterside workers, pipe layers, mechanics and power station workers as well as those exposed to asbestos as a result of home renovations and washing clothes.