The Facts About Asbestos Removal and Cancer

Asbestos Fibres Can Cause Cancer

Everyone around the world knows the risks of asbestos. It is so dangerous, professionals deal with removing it.

Several reports are floating around the internet regarding asbestos and its risks. People exposed to asbestos have a high risk of developing a cancer called mesothelioma.

In the article, we will have an in-depth look at all the facts and figures regarding asbestos and cancer, what types of cancer are the most common.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is the name that was given to a group of minerals that combined naturally. Because of their resistance to hot weather and fire, asbestos products were popular in the building scene in Australia from 1940 to 1987. Asbestos fibres are 50 to 200 times thinner than human hair and because of this, they are invisible to the naked eye. This makes them easy to breathe in and that is where the huge problem with asbestos lays.

Asbestos products include:

  • Roofing
  • Insulation
  • Cement pipes
  • Floor tiles
  • Textiles
  • Walls

At the end of 2003, Australia put a national ban on ALL asbestos products. For more information visit the Cancer Council website.

Asbestos and Cancer

The small fibres of asbestos are easily inhaled and when they are, they become trapped in the lungs. A person exposed to asbestos has a high risk of developing cancers which include ovary, larynx, and lung. The most common is mesothelioma which is cancer of the lining of the lung. The worst part is these cancers take decades to develop and by that time, treatment will not do anything.

Several factors depend on whether you can develop cancer from asbestos. These include:

  • Length of exposure.
  • Your age when exposed
  • How long it has been since exposure
  • The type of fibres and the size of them

In today’s world, all territories and states in Australia work to Health and Safety Laws so they can maintain a duty of care around asbestos. It helps to limit the exposure and reduce the risk of developing health issues later in life.

Other types of cancer caused by asbestos

Exposure to asbestos fibres causes a condition called asbestosis. As a result, it effects the lungs and was the first known risk to health when being exposed to asbestos.

Here are six unbelievable facts regarding asbestos in Australia:

  1. Australia has the highest death rates of mesothelioma on the planet- According to the Mesothelioma centre, since the 1980s 10,000 people have died from mesothelioma in Australia.
  2.  In most cases of mesothelioma cases, asbestos exposure was to blame- According to the Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. They also say that 88% of mesothelioma cases reported exposure to asbestos at least once in their life.
  3. Deaths are going to increase- The Mesothelioma Centre expects the number of deaths to reach nearly 25,000 in the next ten years.
  4. More than half of asbestos claims are from ONE company- According to law firm Henry Carus Associates, over half of the asbestos claims in Australia are levelled at one company. James Hardie, a building materials company based in Australia.
  5. One in three Australian homes contain asbestos- That is scary but the fact it could be in your home is a worrying thought.
  6. Exposure usually occurs at work- Labourers are the ones most at risk from asbestos as they disturb the properties of the asbestos materials. As a result, workers at risk usually work in the following industries.
  • Construction
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical engineering
  • Insulation workers
  • Shipbuilding

For more facts regarding asbestos and cancer, visit SafeWork Australia’s site.


We all know asbestos is a dangerous substance to deal with. Hopefully, in this article we have given you some interesting knowledge regarding asbestos and its link to cancer. Some stats like this might shock you but that just highlights how dangerous the material is.

Remember to never try and remove asbestos yourself. Always seek the help of a professional asbestos removalist.