Mesothelioma and asbestosis claims have been on the rise in New South Wales as reports of asbestos exposure continue to crop up around the state.
In the most recent instance, police are investigating a problem with a truck that may have exposed an entire neighborhood to the carcinogenic material.
A media release from the NSW Police Force shows a truck that was carrying heavy amounts of the dangerous material lost its entire load near Eastern Creek on Saturday, October 12. The investigation has concluded that a Mitsubishi tipper truck was driving on the M7 when it left the highway at about 11am.
Just before crashing into a cement guardrail off the highway, the truck reportedly lost its load of asbestos waste, which spilled into the neighborhood nearby. Emergency first responders, which included members of the NSW police and fire rescue squads, quickly took the necessary precautions to ensure the asbestos couldn't spread further. This included wetting the entire area with a fire hose.
Now, the focus will be on how to safely clean up the mess, which motorway authorities are currently assessing. Police are also investigating why the truck may have been involved in the crash in the first place.
Asbestosis, mesothelioma and other risks
This is just one example of how improperly securing a risky substance, such as asbestos, can potentially cause problems for entire communities.
In other cases, there are reports of truck drivers knowingly dumping loads of harmful substances in public areas.
According to the Maitland Mercury, this is exactly what happened in a suburb in Maitland. A truck driver reportedly dumped his entire load onto the streets, which some experts say could endanger the lives of 50 people due to asbestosis and mesothelioma risks.
Illegally dumping asbestos goes against a number of NSW Environmental Authority regulations, and town officials now hope they will be able to identify the truck driver.
Central Hunter crime manager Detective Inspector John Zdrilic told the news source that the public could suffer serious health consequences because of the act.
"The residents have possibly breathed in those particles and what about the children?" he said.
"We need anyone who saw this truck or knows who the driver was to come forward."
Use of asbestos has been banned for decades, but it still poses serious risks for any workers involved with its cleanup and abatement.