Asbestos - useful websites and documents

There are many other sources of information on asbestos - in Australia and Internationally

Australia

Victoria specific information

The CEPU (PTEU) has released a fabulous DVD featuring well-known AFL coach and former plumber, Kevin Sheedy: Asbestos the hidden killer. In the video Kevin takes a 'tour' of a house with asbestos, discusses what asbestos looks like and where it is commonly found. It is aimed particularly at plumbers and electricians, with advice from the secretaries of the Plumbing and Electrical divisions of the union. However, it has great information for anyone who may have questions about where asbestos might be and what it looks like.
View the DVD online: CEPU/PTEU Asbestos information page

  • WorkSafe  - to check whether a company is a licensed asbestos removalist, go to this page. For enquiries relating to removal work carried out in the workplace or home by a licensed asbestos removalist: Telephone (03) 9641 1444, Toll-free 1800 136 089.  Also contact WorkSafe if you are concerned about how an asbestos removal job is being carried out if it is a workplace.  This includes a home where commercial work is being undertaken (eg a company removing asbestos; renovations; etc).
     
    WorkSafe also has a series of information bulletins on asbestos that can be downloaded from the website.  These include information for on how occupiers and employers can comply with their duty to identify, assess and control any risk associated with asbestos in workplaces, how to undertake risk assessments and control plans:
  • National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) - the regulations specify that the analysis of asbestos samples can only be done by NATA registered laboratories. NATA has offices around Australia. Check the NATA website. The phone number for the Victorian/Tasmanian office is (03) 9274 8200
  • List of VTHC Removalists: on this site, for removalists who are licensed by the WorkSafe and have also agreed to abide by the VTHC Code of Conduct.
  • More information on this site on Asbestos in the Home and what to do.
  • Asbestos Diseases Support Groups - all of which do a wonderful job assisting those who have contracted an asbestos-related disease, and their families. They have had and continue to have a crucial role in raising awareness and lobbying government to take action.
  • Environment Protection Authority Victoria Information Centre - for a disposal landfill site in your area, and enquiries relating to the correct disposal of asbestos materials: Telephone (03) 9695 2722 EPA website

More Asbestos in the home information

  • South Australia also has a general asbestos website: asbestos.sa.gov.au which provides advice for both the public and employers/workers 
  • Your Local Council (Chief Environmental Health Officer) - for inquiries or complaints regarding the incorrect removal or disposal or asbestos in your neighbourhood. (Refer to the phone directory) 

Other Australian information:

  • National Asbestos Hotline
  • The Comcare asbestos hotline provides information and advice on asbestos related concerns: 1800 888 468 Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm (AEST). Comcare will investigate the report and advise the person making the report of the outcome. Comcare will take enforcement action if there is any breach of work health safety laws within the federal jurisdiction. If the incident relates to a state or territory jurisdiction Comcare will refer the matter to the relevant work, health and safety regulator.
  • Also, the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (established in July 2013) has launched the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management, which was developed following the Asbestos Management Review, in consultation with state and territory governments, unions, industry, researchers, community support groups and others. It also now administers:
    • the first National Asbestos Exposure Register. The register captures the details of members of the community who think they may have been exposed to asbestos containing materials (ACMs). In July 2014, changes were made to specifically capture exposures to loose asbestos (Mr Fluffy)
    • a disposal facilities search service where users can enter details of their address and be provided with a list of the closest licensed asbestos disposal facilities.
  • From enHealth: A Guide for householders and the general public. (note - the VTHC does not agree with all the content of this publication - in particular the characterisation of risk)
  • Asbestos a webpage on the Victorian Government's Environmental Health website. A copy of the above guide can also be downloaded here, as well as more information
  • NSW WorkCover Asbestos webpage with information for homeowners and workplaces. 
  • From WorkCover Queensland:
    • a film Clear and present danger: Asbestos exposed aimed at home renovators and tradespeople, it urges them to be aware of asbestos materials and the risks of exposing themselves and others to asbestos fibres during renovations. It includes safety tips, identifies common places where asbestos could be found in a typical pre-1990 Queensland home. It's useful for householders and tradespeople in any jurisdiction.
    • Losing breath: this film tells the tragic story of Adam Sager who died from mesothelioma at the age of 25. Adam's family shared the heartbreaking story about how they unknowingly exposed their son to asbestos when he was only 18 months old. They hope that Adam's story will help raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos.
    • more asbestos resources on the Asbestos webpage - including posters, leaflets, etc
  • Australian Asbestos Network a collaboration between medical and public health researchers along with journalists and historians, the Network has a website  which aims to be a one-stop-shop for information about asbestos. The Network says the site is unique for its stories of real people telling about asbestos and for relating the history of asbestos mining and manufacturing in Australia.  In addition it contains medical information about asbestos-related diseases and public health information on how to minimize exposure through safe handling. 

International

  • International Ban Asbestos Secretariat  Provides international news and updates on asbestos, information on asbestos related disease and links to other asbestos sites. It also has a number of publications, such as the November 2008 India's Asbestos Time Bomb [pdf] In February 2013, IBAS produced new information on Global Asbestos production. This includes a number of charts and maps to illustrate the changes in the global asbestos trade which have taken place over the past 60 years. These changes illustrate that a global double standard on asbestos exists in the 21st century - as developed nations have banned or seriously restricted asbestos use, demand in some industrializing countries remains strong. This material is now available for general use and may be copied from the article Charting the Changing Pattern of Asbestos Production and Use 1950 - 2012 or from a new Graphics Page
  • From the TUC: Asbestos - Time to get rid of it [pdf] (A TUC eradication guide for union workplaces representatives)
  • ITUC publication: The Asbestos Lie. The past and present of an industrial catastrophe
  • For decades asbestos was considered an ideal substance - 'the mineral of the twentieth century'. Even though the fibre had long before been shown to cause various ailments, a real boom began in the 1950s and prospered everywhere in Europe (and in Australia).

    This book retraces the history of the Swiss asbestos cement company Eternit, investigating the strategy it developed – together with other asbestos industrialists – to prevent this carcinogen from being outlawed until, in 1999, an EU (European Union) Directive was finally adopted to this end. The book also reviews the struggle of the asbestos workers and their families to gain official recognition of, and compensation for, the harm suffered.
    The book can be downloaded FREE from this page of the ETUI website.

United Kingdom

  • From the UK's HSE, a range of resources on their Asbestos site including:
    • "Beware Asbestos" - a new 'app' (also website) providing 'simple, practical advice for working with asbestos' - launched after a survey revealed alarming numbers of tradespeople were ill-informed on the presence and dangers of asbestos. The program is easy to use and very informative - and has recently won an award.
    • A Short Guide to Managing Asbestos in Buildings [pdf -  good information on where asbestos might be found, photographs and general advice. Note however: this guide is consistent with UK regulations, not Victorian ones.
    • Mesothelioma: this isn't just an old man's story, a web video, featuring a carpenter diagnosed with the terminal lung cancer.

  • The Asbestos page on the Trade Union Congress OHS Website - with links to leaflets, checklists and more.
  • From UK Union Unite: Asbestos resources - including information for reps, a campaign poster, and asbestos in schools.

United States
There are many sites in the US which provide advice (and services) to sufferers of asbestos related diseases. Here are a number of these - note however, that they recommend doctors and legal professionals in the US and other services, as well as information and advice. By including these links, the OHS Reps @ Work does not necessarily endorse the content of these sites.

  • The Asbestos Diseases Awareness Organisation (ADAO) - this independent voluntary US organisation was founded by asbestos victims and their families. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice to help ensure their rights are fairly represented and protected, while raising public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and often deadly asbestos related diseases.
  • The Asbestos Epidemic in America: provides a thorough review (to 2004) of the size and scope of the public health tragedy caused by asbestos in the United States. It provides  localized information on asbestos-related diseases, deaths, and contamination sources. Original research is combined with a detailed list of products that expose the public to asbestos, a review of the failed 1989 attempt by EPA to ban asbestos, and an analysis of businesses with the most deaths from the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. It also includes a discussion of asbestos diseases and how even short-term exposures can produce tragic outcomes.
  • Mesothelioma Support Centre (Asbestosnet) -  The centre "strives to provide a complete resource on all aspects of malignant mesothelioma - a cancer uniquely linked to just a brief exposure to asbestos." The website has been created by a dedicated team of researchers in the fields of law, medicine, history, journalism, industrial science and safety, chemistry and geology.
  • Mesothelioma Web: a well-established and comprehensive sites on mesothelioma, providing facts about care, nutrition, and chemotherapy, as well as information on clinical trials. Mesothelioma Web is constantly adding new information and articles, including international news. Visitors can also sign up to receive a free information packet on asbestos exposure.
  • The Mesothelioma Center (Asbestos.com) has an occupational health section with up-to-date information on the potential health problems workers exposed to asbestos may suffer. These include asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma.
  • The Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center: accredited by the Health On The Net Foundation and approved by DisabilityInfo.gov as a reliable source of information about asbestos exposure and the related health issues, including the development of asbestos-caused diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Through public outreach efforts and the distribution of informational materials, the Center aims to increase awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure. It provides information about asbestos exposure, mesothelioma treatment, and financial assistance for those suffering from an asbestos disease.
  • PleuralMesothelioma.com - the website of the US Pleural Mesothelioma Center

Last amended June 2015

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