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Killer dust inhaled in child’s play

Belinda Dunn was a sprightly four-year-old when she climbed a pile of building off-cuts in front of her family home in Adelaide.

Belinda played for a few hours on the remains of a renovated carport, singing “I’m the king of the castle” before the pile was taken to an Adelaide tip. Those few hours on her “castle” – sheets of deteriorating fibro – would give her incurable cancer.

A week after giving birth to her son Nathan, Mrs. Dunn was diagnosed with the aggressive cancer, mesothelioma. The disease’s only known cause is asbestos. Mrs. Dunn settled a damages claim for an undisclosed amount with Amaca, formerly James Hardie, whose sheets she played on that day.

Mrs. Dunn was represented by Turner Freeman. It was one of the first of the compensation cases to award damages to someone exposed to asbestos dust for such a short time, and as a child.

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