Asbestos safety research

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In line with Strategy five: Research of the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Management and Awareness, the agency commisioned important research into the risks posed by asbestos. The following reports and publications are the result of this research, and will grow over time as more information becomes available.

The impact of Australia’s asbestos legacy on remote Indigenous communities

A report into asbestos in remote Australia sets out ways that communities and government can work together to manage the identification and removal of deadly legacy asbestos in remote areas to eliminate the ongoing risks. The study, commissioned by the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), looked at asbestos management practices and current issues faced in remote areas in Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland, NSW and Western Australia.

Understanding asbestos support and services in Australia

Report: Understanding asbestos support and services in Australia: A literature review - executive summary (PDF 604KB) (DOCX 7.89Mb)

The agency commissioned Swinburne University in Melbourne to  undertake an evidence-based literature review on the provision of asbestos support services in Australia. The work sought to map support and services for people with asbestos-related diseases. It focussed on two main outcomes:

o   How asbestos support and services are delivered in each state  including the differences and the needs not being met

o   What practical and innovative sources and approaches are being taken in providing support to people with asbestos-related disease in Australia.

The report included a review of relevant academic literature and online resources available to the public while highlighting the significant role that support groups play in providing asbestos support services under difficult circumstances, the report also points to areas of potential need and makes some recommendations on future opportunities to meet those needs.

A strategic review of the practice and use of asbestos registers in Australia

Report: A strategic review of the practice and use of asbestos registers in Australia - Discussion paper (PDF 1.46Mb) (DOCX 1.56Mb)

The strategic review discussion paper is to help the agency better understand how organisations are responding to the legislative requirements, what the attitudes of organisations are to the maintenance of registers, how they use asbestos registers and what their drivers are for responding in the way they do. It appeared that while some organisations are simply meeting the minimum standard to fulfil the regulatory requirements, others are going well beyond the minimum standard. 

Presentation to the 2015 conference: A review of asbestos registers in Australia - Rohan Pigott

Asbestos waste in Australia 

Report: Asbestos waste in Australia (PDF 1.78Mb) (DOCX 3.87Mb)

The Asbestos Waste in Australia report was commissioned by the agency to help improve understanding of asbestos waste and the future demands for safe disposal of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).

This report identifies that over a 7 year period about 20 kilograms of asbestos-contaminated waste is generated for every person in Australia, equating to approximately 400,000 tonnes.  The volume of asbestos waste needing to be disposed of is likely to grow by about 2.8 per cent a year for the next 20 years prompting the need for action by all levels of government.

Presentation to the 2015 agency conference: Asbestos waste in Australia - Joe Pickin 

Illegal asbestos dumping: review of issues and initiatives - discussion paper

Report: Illegal dumping of asbestos: review of issues and initiatives - discussion paper (PDF 2.19Mb) (DOCX 9.27Mb)

This report commissioned by the agency has highlighted the cost to the community of illegal dumping of asbestos, finding a significant lack of awareness among DIY home renovators about the dangers to themselves, the community and environment of the illegal behaviour.

Attitudes to residential asbestos assessments

Report: Attitudes to residential asbestos assessments (PDF 2.02Mb) (DOCX 2.09Mb)

The agency commissioned this report in order to better understand current availability and use of asbestos assessments in the residential sector. Asbestos assessments resulting in the compilation of an asbestos register are required in workplaces in Australia, however there is very little awareness in the community that they are also an effective way of protecting people from the risks of asbestos in their home.

The purpose of this report is to identify the current barriers to the use of asbestos assessments in the home and ways to better inform the market of the assessment services available and the benefits they provide.

Presentation to the 2015 agency conference: Asbestos identification in the residential sector - Stuart Attwood

Future projections of the burden of mesothelioma in Australia

Executive Summary: Future projections of the burden of mesothelioma in Australia (PDF 966KB) (DOCX 2.99Mb)

Full report: The third wave: Australian mesothelioma analysis and projection (PDF 1.44Mb)

The agency commissioned a report that projects there will be approximately 19,400 new cases of mesothelioma in Australia before the end of the century also finds that non occupational exposure to asbestos will overtake exposure from mining, manufacturing and use of asbestos cement. 

The report estimates that 58 per cent of future mesothelioma diagnoses will be attributed to industrial exposures, with the remaining 42 per cent coming from third wave exposures.

Presentation to the 2015 agency conference: Looking at the third wave - Emerging trends and projections - Brett Riley

Measurement of asbestos fibre release during removal works in a variety of DIY scenarios

Report: Measurement of asbestos fibre release during removal works in a variety of DIY scenarios (PDF 1.05Mb) (DOCX 1.42Mb)

This study highlights the potential risks of do-it-yourself (DIY) work involving asbestos. Asbestos cement (AC) sheeting is commonly encountered in DIY renovation and maintenance in Australian residences and its disturbance or removal has the potential for fibre release which may lead to an asbestos-related disease.

The scope of this report was to quantify the asbestos fibre release and potential exposure during DIY home renovation involving the disturbance or removal of AC sheeting.

Asbestos: the international and Australian contexts

Asbestos: the international and Australian contexts (PDF 849KB) (DOCX 918KB)

Asbestos and asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) have been a global concern for decades. Despite this, rates of asbestos use are rising in developing countries where it meets immediate demands for housing, building materials, and employment. As a result, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Association (ILO) are attempting to help countries establish national programmes for elimination of asbestos-related diseases.

The literature presented in the full report delivered to the agency argues for greater public awareness as well as increased community involvement to help prevent future incidences of asbestos-related diseases. The agency has provided the executive summary of the report above.

Medical surveillance and advice on post-asbestos exposure

The agency commissioned the Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health (MonCOEH) to undertake a literature review to identify best practice advice for individuals who may have been exposed to asbestos and the benefit of post exposure medical surveillance. Navigate to the summary page of this medical surveillance literature review for more information.

National benchmark asbestos awareness survey 2014

In 2014, the agency commissioned a large-scale national survey of over 2,300 members of the community to examine the knowledge of Australian people at risk of potential exposure to asbestos fibres, finding that while most understand the danger, few have the practical skills to identify asbestos products and handle them safely. 

The results of this survey were released to the public at the first International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management in Melbourne on Monday, 17 November 2014. The agency will conduct a follow up survey in the second quarter of 2016 to determine the levels of awareness and attitudes to asbestos safety following the implementation of projects delivered as part of the National Strategic Plan.