A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) recorded the deaths of 699 Australians last 2018 due to asbestos disease called mesothelioma. The experts raise alarms regarding the “third wave” of deaths and are expected to increase as Australian Mesothelioma Registry records more cases.
Growing Number of Asbestos Health Victims Alarms Australia
Despite the efforts to ban asbestos in Australia since 2004, asbestos-related diseases remain a pressing issue, as evident in the rising number of Australians acquiring the incurable disease caused by asbestos exposure. In 2018 alone, an average of two people per day was diagnosed with aggressive cancer mesothelioma.
About 4.4 cases per 100,000 people mark the highest rates of mesothelioma in West Australia while the highest number of diagnoses was recorded in New South Wales, with over 900 mesothelioma cases in a span of only three years.
“Just this year, more than 30 of our members have succumbed to an asbestos-related disease, predominantly mesothelioma. All they did was turn up to work to earn a living or just went about their daily lives.” Trevor Torrens from The Asbestos Disease Support Society (ADSS) said.
Men are observed to be the common victims of the disease, mainly due to the dominance of males in mining and construction settings in the 1970s.
Torrens also warns the “third wave” of mesothelioma victims. The first wave of sufferers involved people who are directly exposed to asbestos in the 20th century, particularly in mining and asbestos manufacturing. Builders and carpenters, especially from the 1960s to the ‘80s, are in the second wave.
Meanwhile, the third wave of asbestos victims is the home renovators.
“It’s not a finished issue, it’s an ongoing issue,” Torrens further added. “We really only stopped manufacturing asbestos in the 1980s, and we completely banned it in 2003, but we’re still seeing the legacy.”
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