The Extreme Cost Of Asbestos-Related Diseases
The economic and medical opportunity cost linked to asbestos-related diseases was measured for one year (2015) and was found to be costing the nation over $500 million dollars annually. This is attributed to loss of workplace productivity and direct health care costs.
Time out from the workplace has associated indirect costs estimated to be $321 million per year, whilst hospital and primary care costs an estimated $192 million per year.
It was uncovered that of the workforce impacts leading to loss to the economy and productivity, occupational exposure to asbestos caused 85 percent of cases.
Premature death of an employee was the largest contributor to the costs in the majority of situations.
In terms of health care costs, $59 million are pharmaceutical, $53.7 million are hospital costs, $48.4 million for specialists and other health practitioners and $21.5 million for GP costs.
The findings revealed in The Economic Burden of Asbestos-related Disease report are significant because it is the first time in Australia that the cost of asbestos-related disease has been quantified in such detail.
Approximately 4,000 Australians are losing their lives every year – a truly terrible human toll that is costing the community no less than half a billion dollars per annum.
Peter Tighe, the Chief Executive of the Asbestos Safety Eradication Agency (ASEA), which commissioned the report, was quoted saying it is very clear that their focus should be on “the prevention of exposure to asbestos in Australia, given the high cost of these avoidable diseases”.
Established in 2013, ASEA is the voice for asbestos issues for Australia, concerned with workplace safety, environmental and public health concerns.
The Agency promotes asbestos awareness and provides safety information for groups including tradespeople, real estate agents, importers and home renovators.
ASEA’s focus will include public information campaigns and high profile community education, as Peter Tighe believes knowledge is crucial to reducing these staggering numbers.
Another important step will be developing a comprehensive plan for Australia’s built environment, involving the permanent eradication of legacy asbestos.
Exposure to asbestos cannot occur at any safe level. This means until a proactive approach is taken to asbestos elimination and removal members of the community, including DIY home renovators and Australian workers, will continue to be at risk.
Asbestos is a material that was used widely in the past for a variety of building products because it is both insulating and durable.
Nowadays asbestos remains prevalent in many older buildings and homes, threatening occupants health.
At PROAS, we have over 20 years experience removing asbestos safely from all different types of buildings. We specialise in industrial, commercial and residential asbestos removal in Melbourne – you can check out some of our previous projects featured on our website.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so at the risk of being affected by asbestos-related diseases, if you have any concerns the building where you live or work being impacted by it, it is critical to contact licensed asbestos removalists you can trust.