Aussies ignore legal rights to asbestos

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Many Australians diagnosed with asbestos and mesothelioma diseases are not getting the justice they deserve, according to law firm Slater and Gordon.

Slater and Gordon, asbestos and dust disease manager Joanne Wade, said too often people are unaware of their legal rights and the timelines that apply after a diagnosis.

“In recent months we have seen an increase in the number of people being diagnosed with mesothelioma at a later stage, as during the Covid lockdowns it was sometimes difficult to access treatment. Late diagnosis is

always difficult for individuals and their families, but it is always important to seek legal advice,” Ms Wade said.

“A diagnosis is a shock to anyone and so it is worth meeting with an experienced lawyer to get a detailed history of where the person has worked and lived.

“We have an extensive database of information regarding construction sites, factories, asbestos-containing products and witnesses collected over nearly 40 years of assisting victims of asbestos exposure.”

Ms Wade said Australia had one of the highest per capita uses of asbestos products in the world, especially with the fiber houses dotting the country.

“With rising interest rates, people are choosing to stay in their current homes and renovate. Many homes built before the mid-1980s still contain asbestos products,” she said.

Ahead of Asbestos Awareness Month in November, Ms Wade said homeowners shouldn’t risk their own health by removing asbestos themselves.

“They should get a professional to do the move safely. It’s not worth the risk,” she said.

“If there’s one message for all homeowners this Asbestos Awareness Month, it’s that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. All it takes is a lump of dust to potentially cause serious, irreversible disease decades later.

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