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Construction workers and electricians at high risk of asbestos exposure.

Statistics show it is particularly prevalent amongst construction workers and electricians due to their constant contact with construction materials and dust, some of which is likely to include asbestos, no matter how careful they are. Asbestos, although a natural fiber, when swallowed or inhaled, can cause grave health risks as fibers trapped in the body begin to cause irritation, tumors and especially pulmonary problems. Unfortunately, it was a commonly used construction material in the early half of the 20th century, preferred for its low cost, ease of manufacture, as well as its fire and water resistant properties. Modern construction no longer uses asbestos due to improvements in synthetic materials and cements and more awareness of the dangers it pose....

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New online asbestos course for DIY renovators

Home renovators are being encouraged to extend their 'DIY' skills and take a free online course to help them identify and safely handle asbestos. Cancer Council and the Department of Health in WA have developed the course in the face of growing concern about a 'third wave' of people contracting the deadly disease, mesothelioma, from exposure to asbestos while doing their own renovations. Chair of Cancer Council Australia's Occupational and Environmental Cancer Risk Committee, Terry Slevin, said short-term or low-level exposure to asbestos from people doing home renovations could prove as big a threat as the death toll from asbestos mining. "We're sadly all too aware of the thousands of tragic deaths of asbestos mi....

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20 years of research suggests asbestos regulations need updating.

Asbestos regulations were last updated in the mid-1980s, and more than 20 years of health research suggests it’s time to update those regulations again, said NIEHS Senior Medical Advisor Aubrey Miller, M.D., during a March 23 keynote speech at the annual international Asbestos Awareness Conference in Washington, D.C. New research shows that much lower exposures to asbestos can cause disease. Miller stressed the need to update asbestos regulations, as soon as possible. “We need to push for lower exposure levels, to fund fundamental research to identify what is toxic about these materials, and to address materials, such as erionite, currently not regulated as asbestos,” he told the attendees. “We also need to push for modernizing techniques for....

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