Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, however was once used as extensively in building products, including fibro, flue pipes, drains, gutters and gaskets. Australia was one of the highest users of asbestos per capita of any country and depsite being phased out during the 1980’s and a ban being enforced as to the importation of asbestos in 2003, it is still estimated that one third of all Australian homes contain a form of Asbestos.
Asbestos has been recognised as a significant health risk should individuals be exposed to fibres released into the air and inhaled. Unable to clear naturally from the lungs, once inhaled Asbestos fibres can penetrate the smallest of airways, irritating the lung tissue and potentially causing cancer of the lungs (mesothelioma), ovaries and the larynx.
An individuals risk of developing cancer following exposure to Asbestos can vary, being dependent on:
- the duration the individual was exposed to airborne asbestos fibres
- the concentration of asbestos fibres inhaled
- the frequency of Asbestos exposure
- the latent period since last exposure
- the age an individual was at time of exposure
- the type and size of Asbestos fibres inhaled
Fortunately, an indiviudals health can be monitored following direct or indirect exposure to Asbestos, placing an individuals mind at ease and ensuring that the most appropriate management can occur should an adverse health symptom / condition be identified.