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National Asbestos Awareness Month 2020

    National Asbestos Awareness Month 2020
    30 November 2020

    National Asbestos Awareness Month 2020

    November is national Asbestos Awareness Month. Asbestos although commonly used decades ago still poses a very serious health threat today.
    Asbestos is a natural mineral fibre that was commonly used in the construction of homes and buildings prior to the 1980s due to its strength, flexibility, affordability, heat and sound insulation, fire protection and resistance to electricity, water and chemicals. 

    Approximately one in three houses in Australia currently contains asbestos products and if built prior to the 1990s the house most likely has products containing asbestos. There were over 3,000 different products containing asbestos and some of these products were commonly used in the following areas of houses: the roofing, gutters and downpipes, walls, ceilings, wall tile lining, gables and eaves, carpet and vinyl underlays, concrete framework, packing under beams, splashbacks in wet areas, toilet seats, fire doors, partitions, sink pads, electrical switchboards, sheds and fencing. Furthermore, remnants of asbestos may also be found in the soil of demolished old houses, sheds and fences.

    The use of asbestos is now banned in over 55 countries including Australia which banned its use from 1 January 2004 due to the severe health risks following exposure. Prior to its use being banned, Australia had one of the highest rates of asbestos use per person in the world. 
    Unfortunately, over 4000 people now die annually due to asbestos exposure in Australia and over 100,000 globally. There are approximately 4.5 asbestos related medical cases per 100,000 people in Australia.  Any amount of asbestos exposure poses a risk, although not everyone who is exposed will develop an asbestos related condition. Inhalation and/or digestions of asbestos fibres can result in:

    •    Pleural disease
    •    Asbestosis 
    •    Lung cancer
    •    Mesothelioma 

    The first wave of asbestos related diseases occurred in those who mined, milled and transported the raw asbestos fibres whereas the second wave of asbestos related diseases occurred in those using asbestos containing products. We are now experiencing a third wave of asbestos related diseases which is affecting a wider range of people. Unfortunately, as asbestos is still present today in many building and manufacturing products such as old cement sheets, paints, sealants, fire proofing products, roofing and pipes; builders, manufactures, insulators, plumbers, electricians and even home renovators are still at risk of being exposed to asbestos fibres.  Asbestos fibres may be released via drilling, cutting, sanding or otherwise damaging or breaking products (or disturbing already damaged or broken products) containing asbestos fibres.

    In particular, those renovating homes and other buildings that were built prior to 1990s are at risk of being exposed to asbestos fibres as are those clearing, repairing, investigating or otherwise working in or around structures damages by natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes and cyclones. 

    The period between exposure and diagnosis ranges from approximately 10 years up to 50 years, with most cases being around 30 – 40 years between exposure and diagnosis. With new and ongoing exposures to asbestos, there has not been a decline in those suffering an asbestos related condition and claims for compensation will continue for decades.

    Zaparas Lawyers have a team of lawyers who specialise in these types of claims. If you think you or someone you know may be at risk in developing an asbestos related disease or has been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, contact us now for an obligation and cost-free discussion about your potential legal entitlements.