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Australian workers ask government to remove asbestos by 2030

Although this story is not from Madison County or elsewhere in the United States, it provides a look at the people who are fighting against asbestos and mesothelioma elsewhere in the world. It is interesting to compare the asbestos-related issues in other countries against those in our own, which vary significantly based on the laws, regulations and public sentiments of people living in those countries.

In Australia, for example, the head of the Australian Consortium of Trade Unions, which represents construction unions, recently called on the government to rid the country of asbestos by the year 2030. The government banned the use of asbestos in workplaces in 2004, but has not acted to remove asbestos from buildings in the country due to concerns of the cost of such an undertaking.

However, the government's asbestos management review is reportedly working on a plan for asbestos removal, the final report of which is due next month. According to the union group, that plan must include a comprehensive national audit of all asbestos-containing buildings. The group is also calling on the government to jump-start the process by removing asbestos from all government buildings and public dump sites.

The reason for the request, the union group says, is to protect its workers and the citizens of Australia from the harmful effects of asbestos exposure. Australia had the highest per capita use of asbestos of any country in the world from 1950 to 1980, which resulted in more than 9,000 cases of mesothelioma in the country between 1982 and 2006.

Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, "Unions Call for Asbestos-Free Australia," May 29, 2012

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