The Australian government has come up with a remarkable response to the ongoing, deadly public health hazard of asbestos exposure.
Our Boston mesothelioma lawyers know this is in such sharp contrast to what we are seeing here in the United States, where the substance remains legal to purchase and use in manufactured materials – though few agencies still chance it at this point.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the government has established an independent body to oversee workplace health, as well as public health and environmental safety with regard to asbestos. It is dubbed the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, and its offices will be fully operational by the beginning of July.
The head of the country’s Workplace Relations agency minced no words in addressing the impact asbestos has had both on Australian workers and the country as a whole. He called it the “worst industrial menace.”
The founding of this agency, he said, is a monumental step in that it puts Australia at the forefront of working to eliminate asbestos-related disease.
Why are we in America so far behind on this?
Recently in Ipswitch near Salem, local crews were tapped for an asbestos abatement project at a shuttered U.S. Air Force antenna-testing base. The facility, reportedly riddled with asbestos, was shuttered two years ago. The private owners of the land are seeking to have the on-site structure demolished.
In Australia, the government has said such abatement measures would be overseen by this central agency, to ensure uniformity and accountability.
How many times do we continue to see contractors or even individuals trying to cut cost corners by not properly conducting asbestos abatement, putting themselves and/or their workers and possibly even the public at risk for exposure? But the laws for asbestos abatement vary from state-to-state, so there is little uniformity with regard to penalties.
One of the first tasks the new federal asbestos agency in Australia intends to do is tackle the issue of illegal dumping and unsafe handling and disposal.
Globally, asbestos-related deaths are expected to peak sometime around 2020. But this is far from the end of this. Given the pervasiveness of this material, it’s not out of the question that children who are not yet born yet will die of asbestos-related diseases.
At least in Australia, it has already been banned for over a decade.
Considering that we have known definitively that mesothelioma is directly linked to asbestos exposure since 1964, this kind of non-response to the issue here in the states is truly abhorrent.
Not only that, but our lawmakers are actually trying to do more to muzzle the victims by pushing legislation that would make it tougher for mesothelioma victims to seek proper compensation.
Average onset of the disease is 64 years-old, though exposure typically happens decades before diagnosis. By the time the disease is identified, it is usually fatal within a matter of months or a few short years.
Mesothelioma is a fatal disease. But it’s also one that is entirely preventable.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Workers cleaning up asbestos at old antenna-testing site, March 25, 2013, By Jonathan Phelps, Salem News
Body to tackle threat of asbestos-related diseases, March 21, 2013, Staff Report, Sydney Morning Herald
More Blog Entries:
Mesothelioma Insurance Companies Are Not The Victims, March 6, 2013, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog