Calls for better asbestos awareness
AT LEAST 166 Queenslanders were diagnosed with mesothelioma last year – the rare and fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
After a new report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare last week showed Queensland had the second highest rate of new mesothelioma cases in the year, 3.3 per 100,000 people, Cancer Council Queensland has called for renewed awareness of the risks of asbestos.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan said Asbestos Awareness Week from November 19–25 provided an opportunity for tradespeople and home renovators to find out how to work safely with asbestos materials before they started work.
“When breathed in, asbestos fibres raise a person’s risk of developing asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma,” Ms McMillan said.
“Sadly, there is no cure yet for mesothelioma and due to its aggressive nature, those diagnosed often have a very poor prognosis.”
The average time between diagnosis and death in Australia is around 11 months.
“If you’re not sure whether something is an asbestos containing material, and it was built or renovated before 1990, assume it is until you have it confirmed by an expert and if it needs to be removed, engage a licensed asbestos removalist.”
Visit worksafe.qld.gov.au for information about asbestos removal and carrying out asbestos-related work.
— Chris McMillan, Cancer Council Queensland CEO