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Mesothelioma

Spotlighting Asbestos: The Death of a Compensation Campaigner

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 by: Lynn Berry
Tags: mesothelioma, asbestos, health news

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(NewsTarget) Bernie Banton, an Australian noted for his persistent effort in getting compensation for sufferers of asbestos related disease, died on the 27th of November of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by exposure to asbestos, which is a fibre found in insulation and building materials amongst other products.

His efforts have ensured that asbestos, a highly toxic substance, remained in the public arena promoting awareness about its dangers. Bernie worked for James Hardie & Coy along with 3 brothers. One brother died in 2001 and another has a less serious asbestos related disease.

Asbestos is a silicate mineral found naturally in the environment. The mineral can be separated into very small fibres. As these fibres are strong, and resistant to heat, asbestos has been used in a range of products in various industries: industrial, scientific, home and commercial buildings.

The most common use of asbestos is in insulation to contain heat. It is used in covering pipes, insulating cement, packing materials, vinyl floor tiles, adhesives, roofing products, and electrical wire, see (www.mesothelioma-facts.com).

Tons of asbestos were used in ship building during WW2; insulating pipes, boilers, engines and turbines. According to www.mesothelioma-facts.com, in the area around the ship building centre at Hampton Roads in the US, mesothelioma is at 7 times the national average.

Wikipedia reports that the ancient Greeks noticed the hazards of asbestos after slaves involved in weaving asbestos into cloth had incurred damaged lungs. In the 1900s, the health authorities were aware of the dangers. However, workers were either not notified of the dangers or only notified about some of the dangers.

The fibres of asbestos are small and are breathed into the lungs where they lodge into small airways and air sacs, irritating and inflaming the area. In asbestosis, the airways become so inflamed and scarred that breathing is difficult or becomes impossible. It can take around 10 years to develop and there is no cure.

Mesothelioma can develop from only a small exposure to asbestos and may take a long time to develop, 20-50 years, according to documents on the ABC site (http://www.abc.net.au/health/library/stories...). There is no effective cure for the disease.

Home renovators have also been exposed to asbestos by engaging in the cutting and sanding of building materials in homes built between 1945 and 1980. This was the time when fibre containing asbestos was used to build houses.

It is usually safe to live with buildings made of asbestos. The problem is when the asbestos fibres are exposed through cutting, sawing or sanding the material.

Asbestos is banned in Australia and the European Union. In the US some asbestos products are banned and moves are underway to ban it completely. The truly tragic fact is that companies are still sending asbestos containing products to developing countries where there is little or no legislation controlling its use.

This unethical and immoral practice, the unloading of toxic substances onto unsuspecting or uncaring countries, should be illegal. The health and well-being of people and the environment are more important than corporate earnings.

For news updates from around the world, as well as resources on asbestos, see (http://ibasecretariat.org/). This site also has a listing of support groups in various countries.

About the author

Lynn Berry is passionate about personal development, natural health care, justice and spirituality. She has a website at www.lynn-berry.com.


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