The asbestos scare doesn't seem to die in Australia. The latest is the report that millions of hessian bags used by James Hardie to transport its asbestos fibres were recycled to make carpets. The bags were used to make up the felt flooring beneath carpets.
Many Australian homes may still have carpet underlay which contains the deadly asbestos fibres.
AdvertisementMember of the Asbestos Research Group and thoracic surgeon Doctor Roger Allen says he has seen cases of home renovators suffering asbestosis or mesothelioma.
"We've had the first wave, which are the workers who worked mining the stuff, and then we've had the second wave, which is the group of people who are like the builders, the carpenters, the plumbers," he said.
"Now we're getting to the third wave, which are the home renovators. So we're getting people who now even in their early 40s are coming down with mesothelioma."
Jo Grgurich picked up the hessian bags for Fremantle Bag Company in Western Australia in the late 1950s, where four of his work colleagues have since died from the cancer mesothelioma, ABC News reported.
He says if the bag was badly damaged it was recycled as carpet underfelt without being cleaned.
"They weren't clean enough ... because you couldn't," he said.
Rose Marie Vojakovic, a counsellor from the Asbestos Diseases Society, says many wharf workers fell victim to asbestos.
"When they loaded it into the ships and when it was taken out of the ships, it was like a dust storm dropping on them because they were usually large nets," she said.
"The bags being what they were, which was just hessian, the asbestos would just fall through.
"It was all over the men. We've lost so many wharfies because of this."
The workers who handled the bags may now be exposed to mesothelioma.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union is calling for compulsory asbestos inspections in houses in response to the latest revelations.
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