Watch Our Series On The Asbestos Crisis

This show explains why we have launched our initiatives . We intend to protect the estimated 4,000 or so people who each year are diagnosed with a life shortening un-treatable man-made and totally preventable disease. And that is just in Australia!

2. The Silent Killer You Need To Know About

We discuss findings from our household surveys. Importantly, there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos. Remarkably brief periods of exposure to legacy asbestos or exposure to low doses of asbestos fibres can kill you (and those around you)! Such exposure can occur in either occupational or non-occupational settings.

3. How Many People Does Asbestos Kill?

We consider how many lives have been lost to asbestos-related diseases in Australia and beyond. The scale of these fatalities may astound you.

4. The History Of The Asbestos Crisis In Australia

We look at the timeline from 1880’s onward. The asbestos crisis in Australia is far from over, and the ongoing risks and harms are poorly documented and comprehended. A summary of the asbestos timeline is necessary to understand the current settings and to set the scene for evaluation of measures and policy options to minimise future fatalities from asbestos-related diseases.

5. Research, Research, Research…

We examine the dynamics of research economics, and highlight how politics and profit distorts investment and thus medical progress. If a particular disease is presented as “an old man’s disease”, or a “working class disease”, funding is less likely to be provided. Plus the industry has a track record of financing “experts” to serve their interests.

6. Corporate Sustainability and Social License – “Words And Figures Differ”

Debates concerning the roles and purposes of corporations within society are longstanding. Some scholars and practitioners view shareholder returns as the primary or sole driver of company board and executive decisions. Others adopt a broader perspective because companies necessarily rely on, interact with, and impact other stakeholders such as employees, customers, and the broader community. Corporate models that prioritise and encompass these broader stakeholder harms and impacts are referred to as, and reflected within, “corporate social responsibility” or “corporate sustainability” frameworks. When operating well, these frameworks require companies to publicly acknowledge and mitigate the societal harms caused by their activities. These models recognise that corporations are a legal creation, exist because of policy concessions, and require long term community support to continue to operate successfully.

Asbestos is a classic case study of the ability of companies to benefit from short-term profits, while socialising most of the longer-term harms.

7. Privatise The Profits, Socialise The Losses = Societal Harm

We examine how costs and risks are systematically transferred from corporations to society, thus inflating their true profit, whilst we are left to pick-up the tally. And its true across many sectors of the economy. Worse, regulators are captured thus reinforcing this inequitable trend.

Asbestos is one prime example of the capacity of corporations to make decisions that prioritise short-term profit gains while dismissing or discounting the future adverse effects on employees, customers, and the broader community.

8. When Is A Warning NOT A Warning?

There have been no nationally coordinated mass media public health campaigns that highlight and explain the risks of exposure to legacy asbestos in Australia.

Our research suggests that federal and state public health communications on asbestos risks are presently restricted to online guidance and fact sheets, and occasional messages through social media channels and community newspapers.

There are clear public health and policy options that would prevent future deaths from asbestos-related diseases in Australia, but these options require investment and would have political implications.

9. Asbestos: The Scientific Facts & Challenges

We look at the scientific endeavours which have warped the truth, and excluded public debate. We use important research from Asbestos Awareness Australia.

Given that around 4,000 people in Australia die each year from exposure to Asbestos, and of that more than 800 die from the severe disease of mesothelioma, its time for fresh thinking and more specific alerts to the community, especially those undertaking DIY renovations. At least a third of all property across Australia contains highly dangerous Asbestos. Yet science is mute. And in the third wave ever more women are being impacted.