It’s National Asbestos Awareness Week. the campaign challenges complacency by reminding renovators and tradespeople that the danger of Asbestos is far from over.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral used in thousands of products worldwide. It became a popular building material due to its sound absorption qualities, heat resistance, affordability and ease of construction. Until the 1980s, Australia was one of the highest users in the world. Although banned in 2003, approximately one-third of Australian homes still contain asbestos products.
As a carcinogen, asbestos has left a deadly legacy. The inhalation or ingestion of one microscopic fibre can cause diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer with no cure and a life expectancy of 6-12 months from diagnosis.
Reflections Co-Founder Jo Morri and Support Network Co-ordinator Lizz Clarke joined Mike to talk about the campaign. Jo’s father Barry Knowles was a retired builder, who survived mesothelioma. He was diagnosed in 2010 and was given 6-12 months to live. He shared his journey as an encouragement to fellow sufferers in his memoir: ‘Reflections Through Reality’. The book became a catalyst for establishing a Foundation by the same name.
Reflections’ key focus areas are:
- Supporting and connecting sufferers of asbestos-related disease.
- Increasing awareness of the ongoing risks of asbestos in our community.
- Promoting research into better treatment outcomes for mesothelioma.
Jo said if your home was built or renovated before 1990, you should get it checked as it’s highly likely to contain asbestos. Lizz lost her husband Colin to Mesothelioma, just 18 months ago. He was 45 and also left behind two primary aged children. Lizz is now the Support Network Co-ordinator at Reflections, providing a message of hope for those diagnosed with mesothelioma and their families.
“It’s very difficult when you’re firstly diagnosed with this disease, which is terminal from diagnosis, there’s very few treatments. It’s very easy to fall into a dark place. I’m there to provide hope and support but to also have those difficult conversation with their friends and family about what they’re now facing.”
Find more resources from the Australian Government: Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency. Let us know your thoughts by texting or messaging us on socials. Listen to the full chat below.