Myths and Misconceptions

Don’t believe “Asbestos is banned in Australia, so no-one can be exposed anymore”. From 31 December 2003, it is illegal to use, re-use or sell any products containing any form of asbestos in Australia, but asbestos exists still in many forms, and is dangerous if disturbed or deteriorating.

Don’t believe “Dangers of asbestos exposure have been exaggerated”. The asbestos industry tried to assert that “such anxiety is based on an unjustifiable exaggeration of the health hazards” – this has been proven to be a false claim.

Don’t believe ”Workers knew the risks and ignored them”. Industry, governments and insurance companies knew that asbestos could kill but didn't warn the workers.

Don’t believe “Only those who work with asbestos are in any danger”. The dust and fibres can travel through the air over considerable distances.

Don’t believe “Asbestos should immediately be removed once found”. In good condition, it can be left alone.

Don’t believe “It takes prolonged exposure to contract an asbestos related disease”. There is no known safe exposure time.

Don’t believe “You are fine if a mask is worn while dealing with asbestos”. Full protective clothing should be worn and disposed of safely.

Don’t believe “There’s a good kind of asbestos”. Any type of asbestos can cause disease.

Don’t believe ‘There’s only one kind of asbestos”. There are blue, white and brown types of asbestos.

Don’t believe “There’s only one disease associated with asbestos”. Asbestos exposure can lead to pleural plaques, asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer.

Don’t believe “Mesothelioma is just another name for lung cancer”. It is a separate form of cancer.

Don’t believe “Mesothelioma only affects the lungs”. It can occur in the peritoneum and, less often, in the pericardium.

Don’t believe “Only old people get mesothelioma”. But there is a long lag time between exposure and the onset of symptoms.