Maurice Blackburn-Asbestos dangers: have you registered your exposure?

27 July 2012

Asbestos was a commonly-used building material in the construction and mining industries from the 1950s through to the mid-1980s.

"If you have AC sheeting in a house, shed, shearing accommodation or other structures built around this time it will probably contain asbestos," said Maurice Blackburn dust diseases principal Jane McDermott.

"Building products containing asbestos - commonly manufactured by James Hardie and Wunderlich - such as fibro or flat sheet, asbestos cement, corrugated sheet, flues, water pipes and irrigation pipes were often used on farms because they were cheaper than alternatives.

"These products aren't a danger while they're in tact, however, precautions need to be taken if they're removed or disturbed in some way.

 "Unfortunately, sometimes it's not immediately apparent whether products contain asbestos, the main thing to know is that there is no safe level of asbestos exposure."

Ms McDermott said between 600 and 700 people die from mesothelioma in Australia each year. This leads to Australia having the highest incidence of mesothelioma in the world.

"Mesothelioma and asbestosis are deadly lung diseases that usually take 20-50 years to develop," she said.

"Luckily, not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will go on to contract either of these diseases.

"However, the only way to be sure that you're not one of the unlucky ones is to take precautions such as wearing a mask and calling in the experts to remove asbestos products.

"Maurice Blackburn encourages people to discuss asbestos issues and to contact the Asbestoswise for more information on (03) 9654 9555.

"We also offer a free national asbestos registration service for people who have been in contact with the fibres, so that if you do get sick down the track, it will be quicker and easier to access compensation."

Maurice Blackburn is one of the largest asbestos and dust disease compensation law firms in Australia.

National Asbestos Register

Maurice Blackburn maintains a free National asbetsos register. Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos can record their asbestos exposure, which will aid in a future compensation claim if it is needed.

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