It is with great sorrow that we announce the death of Professor Bill Musk on 3 November 2021. An outstanding respiratory physician, Bill was internationally recognized for his research into asbestos related diseases. In addition to his epidemiological research into the patterns of ARD in the community he was renowned for his work as a medical specialist whose humanity and compassion helped guide his patients through years of living with the painful and often fatal legacy of asbestos exposure. He was a generous collaborator and it is owing to his farsightedness and original thinking that a unique collaboration between medicine, public health, history, journalism and public relations gave rise to what has become the Australian Asbestos Network. The aim was to increase public awareness of asbestos in all its manifestations in order that the general public be forewarned and therefore forearmed against the ever-present threat posed by asbestos in our modern environment. He will be much missed, but through the AAN his legacy will endure through its ongoing efforts to spread factual, accurate and responsible information to the Australian community.
The team that created the Australian Asbestos Network website has now compiled a comprehensive account of asbestos in Australia with chapters from prominent experts in the disciplines of history, journalism, medicine, law and public health. The book also features many of the website’s first hand accounts of those whose lives have been touched by the mineral, as workers, asbestos disease sufferers, and lawyers and campaigners directly engaged in the struggle to ban its use. The book tracks the history of asbestos from the early 20th century when asbestos was mined in Australia to the post-war housing boom which saw asbestos become the material of choice in cities and suburbs around the country. The book then deals with its controversial legacy: the dire medical consequences from exposure, the cover-ups and the protracted legal battles for compensation, and the ongoing risks to public health from the asbestos that remains in our workplaces, schools and homes to this day. Asbestos in Australia: From Boom to Dust, edited by Lenore Layman and Gail Phillips, Monash University Publishing, October 2019. For more information, go to Monash University Publishing. For a recent book review, go to https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/abr-online/current-issue/478-environmental-studies/5883-graeme-davison-reviews-asbestos-in-australiA
4 November 2010: Madison Square Garden will be reopened Friday after an asbestos scare forced the postponement of an National Basketball Association game Tuesday night, according to a statement released by the team.
9 December 2010: Doctors in Canada are accusing their Government of hypocrisy over its approach to asbestos. (audio and transcript)
9 December 2010: … a business leader has asked the government in Quebec to support a new mine, which would send five million tonnes of asbestos to Asia.
26 February 2011: School children begin inspired protests against asbestos factory in Bihar, India.
28 April 2011: Japanese workers tackling the Herculean task of clearing millions of tonnes of debris from last month’s earthquake and tsunami also face health risks from asbestos and dioxins.
13 February 2012: Italian courts have found two men guilty of failing to comply with safety rules.
28 February 2012: New reforms in UK force sufferers to pay out thousands of pounds in order to just claim for compensation.
21 March 2012: Order of Australia medalist, member of first Australian expedition to Mount Everest and best selling author Lincoln Hall dies of mesothelioma after year-long battle. He had been exposed to asbestos as a kid when building cubby houses.