A ‘third wave’ of asbestos sufferers is likely to be made up of younger Australian women, a university research report has suggested.
Approximately 3,500 Australians die each year from asbestos-related diseases and this is expected to increase in coming decades.
The report conducted by Southern Cross University investigated the social and psychological effects of asbestos and how more younger Australians are dealing with the issues of the disease. Asbestos is no longer just an issue that older Australians are facing, as it is now affecting the current generation in the prime of their lives.
Director of the University’s Regional Initiative for Social Innovation and Research (RISIR) and project leader, Associate Professor Rick van der Zwan?, said the affects of asbestos aren’t always just physical.
“Women are likely to form a significant proportion of the emerging third wave of exposure to asbestos and may suffer considerable hardship as a result,” he said.
“The medical effects of this disease are well researched, but little has been known about the social, psychological and economic implications for those diagnosed, their carers and their families.”
Mr van der Zwan said the university analysed the lives of more than 60 men and women who live with an asbestos-related disease.
“Exposure to asbestos can result in a range of debilitating diseases, all of which can leave people physically and socially isolated,” he said.
Southern Cross University also developed the ‘Dusted Community’ which can connect sufferers with carers and support groups – a particularly important service for those in rural and regional NSW.
President of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Barry Robson said this study is beneficial for any victims to understand they aren’t alone in their suffering.
“With the help of other people with the same problems, they can get together via the internet and support each other,” Mr Robson said.
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