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Asbestos exposure in daily life

School buildings and home renovations are typical sites for asbestos exposure

While now recognised as a toxic material that even today continues to take a toll on people’s lives, asbestos tends to conjure up images of asbestos mines and factories. Yet one of the most common forms of potentially dangerous exposure to asbestos occurs in almost any building older than 30 years of age, which is most of Australia’s building stock, and this embraces both commercial and domestic constructions.

What types of Asbestos exposure?

Many Australians, even today, continue to be at risk to asbestos. Here are some examples:

  • A wing of a school is being demolished to make way for new classrooms, during which asbestos sheeting is disturbed and dust released into the wind. Safety measures are taken once it is discovered, but it is too late to prevent many students, workers, teachers and even some the parents coming into contact with the dust.
  • A suburban home more than 40 years old is being renovated, and while part of the roof and ceiling is being removed, asbestos is discovered, by which time the couple working on the renovation have been exposed.
  • A city building is being torn down, and on a windy day, the nearby streets are filled with dust, some of which contains asbestos. It should have been properly identified and contained but it was not. Passers by and nearby office workers are exposed to a potential toxic cloud part of which contains asbestos.

Each of these examples reveal the still very real and present danger posed by asbestos as our stock of buildings ages and is repaired or replaced, possibly exposing us to asbestos. The fact is that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, and the material itself remains potentially lethal.

As the symptoms of asbestos caused diseases can take many years to appear, doctors continue to diagnose cases that are drawn from relatively recent exposures, some of which are in circumstances similar to those described above.

What to do if you know you have been exposed

If you think you have been exposed to asbestos, it is important that you make a record of your exposure, recording the dates and nature of the exposure. Ryan Carlisle Thomas maintains an asbestos register of exposure so that your details can be kept safe and acted on should you ever develop an asbestos related disease.

What if I have become sick from asbestos?

Even more importantly, if you start to exhibit symptoms of asbestos exposure or have been positively diagnosed, you or a family member should take immediate action to claim compensation.

What legal action can be taken?

Legal action for compensation can be made against:

  • Manufacturers of asbestos products
  • Employers
  • Occupiers of premises that have allowed asbestos products to be used.

What about my legal costs?

Our No Win No Fee OR Expenses* policy applies to all asbestos litigation.

Contact

Please call Karen Dimasi on 03 9238 7878.

For more information on asbestos at work please visit our section on asbestos exposure in the workplace.

Call 1300 366 441 or find us at an office near you for advice on Asbestos claims, or to recieve one of our Asbestos Exposure Records to fill in and email or fax back to us. Remember to keep a copy for your own records.