A number of asbestos-related deaths are being blamed on a former factory in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine North.
The Wunderlich facility, which was described as a “factory of death”, has been linked to more than a dozen fatalities from diseases such as mesothelioma.
According to the Herald Sun, at least 16 people who lived within a 1 km radius of the plant have died and eight more are sick. The factory closed in 1983 after being open for approximately 40 years.
Families affected by the disease have already begun seeking compensation claims from CSR, the company that acquired Wunderlich in 1969, with many reaching financial settlements.
Residents have claimed asbestos dust sometimes swirled in the air from the factory and settled on houses and cars in the suburb between the 1950s and 1970s.
Asbestos risks still evident
The Herald Sun’s own investigation found traces of the material in roof spaces near to the factory’s site. There are also still pieces of asbestos littering the ground at the back of the facility.
One man, Greg Munro, grew up on Barwon Avenue, which is where many of the claimants were exposed. He developed mesothelioma 14 years ago, but died after a three-year battle.
Before he passed away, Mr Munro wrote that he often played in the factory’s asbestos dust when he was a child.
“We would run up and down these piles of snow and roll in it and then throw clumps of asbestos at one another. It was great fun,” he said.
Neither the Health Department or Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority (EPA) were aware of the factory’s legacy until informed by the Herald Sun.
EPA spokesman Bram Alexander said the Victoria Cancer Registry has been told to carry out an immediate investigation following the news.
“Contamination of any site with asbestos or any other potentially carcinogenic material is a concern and residents should seek expert advice if they suspect there are loose asbestos fibres or broken asbestos sheeting in their home,” he added.
NSW mesothelioma claims
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses are a countrywide problem, with an increasing number of cases cropping up in Australia.
Government statistics show around one-third of homes in the nation have products containing asbestos. Only houses built after the 1990s are usually free of the material.
If you are based in NSW and would like to make an asbestos claim, please contact compensation lawyers in Sydney for more information.