asbestos-related_disease_indicators.doc

The main findings in this report follow changes in

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The main findings in this report follow. Changes in the nature of occupational exposure > In the past, exposure to asbestos fibres usually occurred while mining asbestos; manufacturing asbestos containing products; or using those products, primarily while constructing buildings. > Currently, the main source of exposure to asbestos fibres are old buildings undergoing renovation or demolition where building maintenance and demolition workers are employed. Mesothelioma > Over the period 1982 to 2006 the total number of new cases of mesothelioma increased from 156 in 1982 to 649 in 2003. Since then, the number of new cases has decreased to 579 in 2006. > Since 1997 the overall number of deaths resulting from mesothelioma increased from 416 to 628 in 2008. Asbestosis > Over the period 1998–99 to 2007–08, there were 1146 hospitalisations related to asbestosis of which 97% were for men. > There were 258 accepted asbestosis-related compensation claims in 2008; this is a 25% decrease from the 342 compensated claims in 2003. > Since 1998 the number of deaths attributed to asbestosis increased from 43 to 109 in 2008. Prevention policy > The development of national model regulations for asbestos aim to harmonise jurisdictional regulations and provide, for the first time, a consistent framework for the minimisation of exposure; the removal of asbestos; and the management of remaining asbestos materials in workplaces. Asbestos-related Disease Indicators, August 2010 ... v
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Introduction Asbestos-related diseases are responsible for an increasing number of deaths in Australia. In 2008, the most recent year covered by this publication, 628 deaths attributable to mesothelioma were registered, and 109 to asbestosis. The number of deaths caused by lung cancer and other diseases possibly related to asbestos exposure is unknown. These deaths are the direct result of, in most cases, work-related exposure to asbestos fibres up to 40 years ago. Asbestos is a mineral rock that is made up of masses of tiny fibres and occurs in a number of forms, three of which were used commercially in Australia. They are amosite, crocidolite and chrysotile. Asbestos was mined in Australia for over 100 years — ceasing by 1983. This domestic production, combined with asbestos imports, gave rise to Australia having the world’s highest per-capita use of asbestos in the 1950s (Leigh et al, 2002). This high rate of usage reflected the very useful thermal and mechanical properties of the material. These properties led to its extensive use in a multitude of domestic and industrial products and, in particular, in fibre-cement products like pipes, wall panels, and roof sheeting. The use and importation of all forms of asbestos (with a few very specialised exceptions) was prohibited in Australia from December 2003. When asbestos is mined or processed, or when asbestos-based products are sanded, sawn or drilled, it can form a fine airborne dust made up of tiny fibres.
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