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Media statement re: New Wittenoom research

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Media Release

Published on

New research showing that children exposed to asbestos while at Wittenoom are developing a range of cancers or dying at rates above the average population is another blight on Australia’s worst industrial disaster, according to Slater and Gordon lawyers.

For many years Slater and Gordon has represented numerous clients who were exposed to asbestos as children living in the town of Wittenoom.

Slater and Gordon asbestos lawyer Simon Millman said the courts had already determined that for sufferers of those known asbestos-related cancers such as lung cancer and mesothelioma, the owners and operators of the Wittenoom mine can be liable. 

Mr Millman said the new research would bring into question whether the same owners and operators could be liable for a wider range of deadly illnesses. 

According to the study by researchers from The University of Western Australia for the UWA-affiliated Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR), “Wittenoom kids” who spent their childhoods exposed to asbestos in the north-west of Western Australia are now developing a range of cancers or dying at a rate well above the average population.

“In light of this new research, the next question for the courts will be whether those same owners and operators are also liable for a much wider range of deadly illnesses,” Mr Millman said.

“Despite the terrible picture that it paints, Slater and Gordon welcomes this research and we're hopeful it will help in putting together a clearer picture of the extent of the pain and suffering that has been caused by this deadly substance.

“All too often we are reminded of Wittenoom's deadly legacy and we know that its impact has gone far beyond the original workers at the mine.”

Less than six months ago, a group of asbestos campaigners walked from Kalgoorlie to Perth to raise money for and awareness of the Wittenoom children’s plight. With support from Slater and Gordon and the Asbestos Diseases Society this group of dedicated fundraisers raised over $70,000 on behalf of sufferers of mesothelioma to fund medical research.

Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos either whilst working or living in Wittenoom who has now been diagnosed with mesothelioma should contact a lawyer or the Asbestos Diseases Society for advice.