A study conducted by researchers from Curtin University and University of Western Australia concluded that immigrants from the UK, Italy, Germany and Ireland who suffered from malignant mesothelioma had higher death rates than native-born Australians. Furthermore, the highest rates of asbestos-related cancer were found among immigrants who came between 1940 and 1970s.
Researchers are correlating the results to the laws enforced at the time, requiring immigrants to work in a certain industry for two years.
The study cross referenced mesothelioma death rates between 1981-2002 and 2006-2012 with census data e.g country of origin. The study concludes that mesothelioma death rates per million of people from UK is 17.98%, for Italy 14.88% and 15.91 for those coming from Germany.
If history would be revisited, Australia was once one of the largest consumer of Asbestos in the middle 20th century. And during the period, millions of immigrants from Europe flocked to the country. To deal with overcrowding, immigrants were employed in industries like steel plants, construction, mining and manufacturing where they are needed the most, for two years. This measure implemented by the government might have something to do with the findings of the study.
The study notes, “Our findings suggest that migrants who arrived before 1970 may have been working in jobs where the risk of exposure to asbestos was greater than jobs in which Australian-born worked.”
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