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Asbestos: An Environmental and Human Health Disaster

When I was a kid I lived in an asbestos house built by my father and his friends. I remember playing with bits of asbestos as a child, burning them on fires until they exploded and stuff like that. This was in the nineteen seventies in Perth, Western Australia; it seems that even then many people did not know the dangers this stuff presented. Of course, Wittenoom, the famous ‘blue sky mining’ town is located in WA, in the Pilbara. It is now a ghost town with signs all around the town warning visitors of the potential dangers of asbestos. Asbestos fibres can become embedded in the lungs and then can be slow to develop into serious and often terminal lung diseases. Breathing difficulties are caused by a thickening of the lung’s pleura and this makes breathing painful and difficult.

Asbestos has been with humanity since the Stone Age apparently. There were asbestos mines in Greece and northern Europe around 5000 BCE. Egyptian Pharaohs were wrapped in asbestos cloth around 2200 BCE. Herodotus tells us, in 456 BCE, that the Greeks were wrapping their dead in asbestos cloth prior to cremation; which seems somewhat self-defeating. Asbestos mine workers were getting lung disease in Roman times, according to Pliny the Elder in 100 CE. During the Crusades the Christian forces catapulted burning bags of tar wrapped in asbestos at the heathen enemy in 1095 CE. The Mongols wore asbestos clothing into battle in 1280 CE. In 1924 the first diagnosis of a woman who died from lung disease after working with asbestos for twenty years is made. A later study reveals that 25% of asbestos workers have a asbestos related lung disease. Asbestos is in WWII gas masks. From 1940 to 1970 asbestos is found in hair dryers, electric blankets, plaster, gutters, building products and brake plates. Asbestos is the biggest killer of tradespeople in the UK; still today with some twenty dying every week.

Asbestos: An Environmental and Human Health Disaster

In Australia, we were the biggest users of asbestos in the world per capita; with one third of all homes containing some asbestos. Homes built prior to 1980 are very likely to have some asbestos in the building materials used. Homes built after 1990 are unlikely to contain any asbestos material. Around five hundred men and one hundred women develop the disease mesothelioma every year in Australia. Asbestos related diseases have killed many thousands of Australians over the years.

Australian Conservation Monitoring Group (ACM Group)

Australian Conservation Monitoring Group (ACM Group), is an “Australian Community Managed” organisation founded in 2015 which aims to hold to account the social, ethical and environmental activities of business operating in our country as well as local and federal government and their policies in Australia.

 

While monitoring various environmental issues and bringing our own voice to the table on behalf of ordinary Australians we also aim to teach ordinary, every day people how they can help to have a positive outcome on the beautiful land in which they live and on their own lives.

 

What do we mean when we say we are an Australian Community Managed Group? We mean that we are local members of the community who look at issues affecting the conservation of Australian flora and fauna without outside influence and duress. We aim to provide an objective, though Australian interest focused, lens through which members of the public can get another side of the story as to what is going on with the conservation of this beautiful country’s unique flora, fauna and natural beauty.

 

What are the ACM Group core objectives and focuses?

  1. To improve the environmental literacy of our great nation and its peoples so we have much to look forward to in the future and something to pass to our kids and grand kids.
  2. Providing easy to digest information on large projects which could affect our environment in a positive or negative way. We believe in sharing good news!
  3. Give advice on fun and family centric projects which can be done at home and can involve the whole family and are especially fun for kids!

Copyright ACM GROUP GREEN 2015