Info session clears the air on asbestos – Gladstone Observer

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ASBESTOS was removed from building products in Queensland in 1983, but asbestos-related diseases may be around for years to come.

“We’re hitting the peak now, we’ve been the busiest we’ve ever been,” solicitor Emma Jahnke said.

Ms Jahnke was in Gladstone for the Asbestos Disease Support Society’s first visit to Gladstone and information session on the toxic material.

“Whereas diseases like asbestosis 10 years of heavy exposures would develop that condition,” she said.

“Asbestosis can be a really nasty condition or it can just sit and it might not cause death.

“The issue we are going to have is conditions like mesothelioma in the future because the diseases are all going to phase out but the meso will still be around.”

Another industrial disease with the potential to rival mesothelioma is black lung disease.

Ms Jahnke does not specialise in the disease, but has major concerns about it.

“I reckon potentially it could be the next epidemic,” she said.

“In 100 years it could be something else we don’t know about.

“Asbestos (medical) conditions are by far the worst anyone has ever seen – it’s Erin Brockovich on steroids.”

Yesterday, sufferers and family members of those who had died from mesothelioma meet other locals affected by asbestos-related diseases.

The morning tea was hosted by the society and Turner Freeman Lawyers, and was designed to allow affected locals to meet and set up a support network.

ADSS services support officer Leanne Pettersen was on hand to field questions and provide information.

“We try and get to the regional areas once a year,” Ms Pettersen said.

“It’s for people in this area to get together to talk with each other as well as having access to us if they’ve got questions.

“They come here to chat and learn from each other, (they) learn a lot from us and have access to the lawyers as well.”

Turner Freeman solicitor Ms Jahnke was there to provide information on compensation claims and to field other legal questions.

She said asbestos awareness was the key to avoid contracting the debilitating disease.

“People these days who are aware of it take a more flippant approach than they should,” she said.

“They won’t follow the right precautions because they reckon nothing will come of it, but it’s really perilous so people should be aware of the repercussions of working with and around asbestos.”

For more information about the Asbestos Disease Support Society visit https://www.adss.org.au/.

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