Tag Archives: Australia

History of Asbestos Mining Blamed for Mesothelioma Epidemic

history of asbestos mining

Residents of Western Australia are still paying the price for the history of asbestos mining in the region. A new report from the University of Western Australia focuses on people in the region of the now-closed Wittenoom asbestos mine.  The report blames the mine and its products for an “ongoing epidemic of mortality from lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma”.  Australia’s Sad History of Asbestos Mining Asbestos is a mineral once prized for its strength and abundance. It was used around the world in thousands of products, including many construction materials.  Australia has a long history of asbestos mining and exportation. The country was once one of the world’s top producers of asbestos. The Australian Blue Asbestos Company in Wittenoom was … Continue reading History of Asbestos Mining Blamed for Mesothelioma Epidemic »

Mesothelioma Risk From Home Renovation in The Spotlight

mesothelioma risk from home renovation

The case of an Australian man is highlighting the mesothelioma risk from home renovation when asbestos is present.  Forty-two year old Matthew Werfel recently won a lawsuit against Amaca, the asbestos producer previously known as James Hardie. The company manufactured the asbestos-containing cement sheets that led to Werfel’s pleural mesothelioma. The record $3 million payout is an expensive warning to other DIY homeowners about the potential mesothelioma risk from home renovation. Asbestos in Construction Products Asbestos is a mineral that has to be mined from the ground. As early as the 1930’s, companies like James Hardie recognized its potential value as a construction material. Asbestos is strong, plentiful and resistant to heat and corrosion. It was used for decades to … Continue reading Mesothelioma Risk From Home Renovation in The Spotlight »

Australian Doctors Use Bacteria to Shrink Mesothelioma Tumors

Could bacteria responsible for problems ranging from sinusitis to food poisoning be used as a weapon in the fight against malignant mesothelioma? The results of a new study conducted by mesothelioma researchers at the University of Western Australia suggest that it might. The researchers focused their study on a compound made up of proteins produced by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, also called ‘Staph’ bacteria. The compound has been used clinically to induce pleurodesis, a closing up of the pleural space around the lungs that can become fluid-filled in people with mesothelioma. Based on its success in pleurodesis, the Australian team wondered if the S. aureus protein compound could also shrink tumors. Scientists in the University’s Centre for Asthma, Allergy and … Continue reading Australian Doctors Use Bacteria to Shrink Mesothelioma Tumors »

Cholesterol Drugs Ineffective Against Mesothelioma

A new study from the University of Western Australia has dealt a blow to the idea that the anti-cancer properties of statin drugs could help fight malignant pleural mesothelioma. Statins are a group of drugs that are typically used to lower high cholesterol and treat heart disease by blocking a substance the body needs to make cholesterol. Statins have been found to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in mesothelioma cells and epidemiological evidence has suggested that people on statins have a lower incidence of cancer. Based on these facts, researchers at Australia’s National Center for Asbestos Related Diseases hypothesized that statin drugs might be used to slow the progression of mesothelioma in patients who have it, and possibly even prevent mesothelioma development … Continue reading Cholesterol Drugs Ineffective Against Mesothelioma »

Rise in Asbestos Claims Not Hurting James Hardie’s Bottom Line

Australian construction company James Hardie says a rise in mesothelioma claims from former workers exposed to asbestos on the job is not affecting its bottom line. The company recently released its semi-annual profit statement to the Australian stock exchange. The report shows that James Hardie has doubled its profits from the first half of 2013, despite the fact that the number of mesothelioma-related asbestos claims has risen above company expectations. Company profits were reported to be $108.3 million from April to September. Quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, James Hardie CFO Russell Chenu said, “We have seen some concerning trends in mesothelioma claims, which we have highlighted previously. We’ve now got a better handle on the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, … Continue reading Rise in Asbestos Claims Not Hurting James Hardie’s Bottom Line »

Website Aims to Protect Homeowners from Mesothelioma

Australia’s Cancer Council is trying to educate home renovators about their risk for mesothelioma with a new e-learning course. Australia has one of the highest per capita rates of mesothelioma in the world, largely because of several asbestos mining operations that were once located there. Although asbestos has been banned from building products in Australia since 1989, asbestos-linked diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis continue to pose a serious health concern. While mesothelioma has traditionally occurred among people exposed to asbestos on the job, Australia is now bracing for another “wave” of mesothelioma victims among homeowners who encounter asbestos while doing their own renovation projects. Cancer Council Australia has launched “kNOw asbestos in your home” in an effort to … Continue reading Website Aims to Protect Homeowners from Mesothelioma »

Mesothelioma Nurses Ready for New Cases in Australia

Australia is bracing for an expected new wave of mesothelioma cases in the next decade and the Lung Foundation of Australia is taking action now to get ready. The Foundation has paid for ten nurses from around the country to receive specialized training in helping patients and families cope with mesothelioma. The nurses, who have recently completed the training, are now equipped to lead treatment planning for these complex cancer patients and to help other nurses do the same. Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that occurs in the lining around the lungs. It is caused by exposure to asbestos dust, a toxin that was once alarmingly prevalent in Australia where it was mined and heavily used in construction. Because … Continue reading Mesothelioma Nurses Ready for New Cases in Australia »

Australian Electricians Fear Mesothelioma Risk

Calling the modification of electrical meter boxes a “game changer”, an official from Australia’s largest electricians union says workers should refuse to do it until the dangerous boxes have been inspected. Allen Hicks, Assistant National Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union, told the Sydney Morning Herald that asbestos-containing meter boxes are being modified more frequently because of renovations and that too many workers are not adequately protected against mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases. The warning, which centers on the meter boxes in homes built before 1983, was issued after a New South Wales electrical company instructed its workers to wear masks around the boxes to minimize asbestos and mesothelioma risk. When the Electrical Trades Union learned of the warning, they advised … Continue reading Australian Electricians Fear Mesothelioma Risk »

Australian Registry Releases First Mesothelioma Report

The first report using data from the newly-established Australian Mesothelioma Registry has been released, and the new is not good – especially for the country’s blue collar workers. According to the report from Safe Work Australia, a health and safety advocacy group for the country’s building industry, the Australian Mesothelioma Registry recorded 612 new cases of mesotheliomain 2011. The new national registry became operational in 2011 with a goal of recording and tracking all new mesothelioma cases. The purpose of the registry is to help spot trends, provide research data, etc. Six hundred and twelve new cases in 2011 equates to a rate of 2.7 mesothelioma cases per 100,000 people. However, Safe Work Australia cautions that the number is likely to … Continue reading Australian Registry Releases First Mesothelioma Report »

Australian Study Reveals New Mesothelioma Biomarker

A large multi-center Australian study has revealed what researchers say could be an important new biomarker for malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a virulent cancer of internal body membranes usually caused by exposure to asbestos. As with other cancers, mesothelioma cells produce certain compounds at higher levels than healthy cells do. Micro RNAs, or miRNAs, are short chains of ribonucleic acid, some of which are produced in abundance by cancer cells. Using miRNA microarrays, the Australian researchers profiled plasma samples from patients with malignant mesothelioma and from healthy controls. After reviewing 90 miRNAs previously associated with mesothelioma, they found two – miR-29c and miR-92a – in particularly high amounts. Further testing found a total of 15 novel miRNAs in the plasma of … Continue reading Australian Study Reveals New Mesothelioma Biomarker »