Asbestos related diseases
When inhaled, asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs and scar the lung tissue. Over time, this trauma can lead to disease.
When asbestos was mined in Australia, up to the 1960s, miners fell victim relatively quickly to asbestosis because of the large amount of asbestos dust they inhaled during the mining process. However, the damage caused through exposure during the manufacturing process or through handling of asbestos when workers are exposed to less dust takes longer to manifest as disease, and symptoms may not appear until up to 40 years after exposure.
This is why the focus now has to be on minimising exposure to the damaging fibres to prevent disease in future.
Click here for more information on asbestos-related diseases.