My childhood memories of “asbestos” was somewhat different from what it means today. Back then, I remember reading in textbooks and other resources that asbestos was a wonder substance for all kinds of purposes, insulation being one of them, and the toxic side effects of exposure to the substance was glossed over. Then, much later, we began to hear about the horrific repercussions, but too late, the material had already found its way into the fabric of our built environment.
When I was approached by advocate Cameron von St. James to become a part of a summer (in the northern hemisphere, it is winter here in the south) campaign for asbestos awareness, I was happy to contribute a brief write up. It was the first time I had come across the specific name of a cancer associated with asbestos exposure: Mesothelioma.
Australia was a large source of the toxic material, and this has affected a great many lives. A good friend of mine helps people who are suffering from asbestos exposure, most of them terminal. I subsequently found an informative history at this link, at the Australian Asbestos Network.
The man in the street, like myself, may only know about this substance from media reports on television and the news. It seems that our lives are now lived alongside a great variety of potentially hazardous substances, of which we are oblivious. Until we are personally affected. Then, our world turns upside down and inside out.
Please take some time to check in on this website for more information: Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
Cameron von St. James has a blog site too, where he details his journey as carer, husband and support to his wife Heather, who survived mesothelioma. It is full of information and personal insights.