Wait’ at­ti­tude of Ed Depart­ment

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

there are works sched­uled for the Oc­to­ber school hol­i­days at the re­main­ing school.”

As­bestos Dis­eases So­ci­ety of Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Robert Vo­jakovic slammed the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment for both its in­spec­tion method and the time taken to re­move the ma­te­rial.

“Risk is mainly mea­sured by the re­lease of fi­bres and if those fi­bres can be cap­tured to be an­a­lysed and con­firmed, then in­deed the risk must be im­me­di­ately reme­died with­out any fan­ci­ful nu­mer­i­cal cod­ing,” he said.

“The uni­ver­sally ac­cepted as­bestos risk is very well es­tab­lished that there is no safe level of ex­po­sure.

“All as­bestos must be safely re­moved from build­ings, par­tic­u­larly in schools where chil­dren have long la­tency pe­ri­ods to ex­pe­ri­ence some sort of disease as­so­ci­ated with as­bestos dust ex­po­sure.”

WA Coun­cil of State School Or­gan­i­sa­tions pres­i­dent Kylie Catto also ex­pressed dis­be­lief at the re­moval time­frames.

“We would ex­pect im­me­di­ate ac­tion to have oc­curred within a mat­ter of days and not be on­go­ing for months,” she said.

“The safety of stu­dents and staff is in­te­gral. If the ma­te­rial has not been re­moved then we would ex­pect that the school has clearly com­mu­ni­cated what steps have been taken to negate any po­ten­tial health risks.

She said prin­ci­pals, as site man­agers, had a duty of care. WHEN breathed in, as­bestos fi­bres may be­come trapped in the lungs, where they can re­main for decades.

Over time, those fi­bres can ac­cu­mu­late and cause scar­ring and in­flam­ma­tion, which af­fects breath­ing and leads to se­ri­ous health prob­lems.

As­bestos-re­lated dis­eases char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally de­velop over a long pe­riod of time and the first symp­toms may not ap­pear for 10 to 50 years.

Me­sothe­lioma is an in­cur­able and ex­tremely ag­gres­sive form of can­cer af­fect­ing the lin­ing of the lungs and ab­domen that is known to be caused only by as­bestos.

It can take up to 45 years to de­velop af­ter ini­tial ex­po­sure and death typ­i­cally oc­curs within six to 18 months af­ter di­ag­no­sis.

As­besto­sis is pro­gres­sive scar­ring and thick­en­ing of the lung tis­sue that causes short­ness of breath and lung in­fec­tions.

There is no treat­ment and it usu­ally leads to death by heart fail­ure.

Ex­treme cau­tion: As­bestos re­moval pro­ce­dures.

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