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Australia, like much of the modern world, readily embraced asbestos as a popular building material, during its early days. Versatile, heat resistant and affordable, it was common to find asbestos in construction for homes, offices, factories and other public buildings. Little did we know that the effects of asbestos would impact the lives of families who encountered exposure, for decades to come.

Concern began to grow throughout the late 20th century, when the health risks became evident in many asbestos exposed workers, causing investigation into the long-lasting risks of being exposed to the dangerous fibers. Growing efforts, in the 80s and 90s, pushed the industry to act and eventually, in December 2003, asbestos was completely banned in Australia.

Despite banning any new manufacturing of new asbestos materials, it still exists in structures built prior to these regulations. In fact, most homes built before 1990 contain some form of asbestos. Finding asbestos in old homes, used in brick cladding, fencing, roofing and guttering is still common and every measure is taken, to prevent further spread of asbestos illness.

What health risks are associated with asbestos exposure?

Exposure to asbestos can cause irreversible, and at times, life threatening illnesses. Over the years it has claimed numerous lives and left families devastated.

Thanks to various legal claims documenting asbestos health effects in the 1970s and 80s, the consequences of exposure were finally taken seriously, leading to countries banning asbestos all around the world.

Australia has strict asbestos regulations governing the importation, manufacture and use of all forms of asbestos and asbestos-containing products, aiming to protect the health of workers and the general public. In 2003, a nationwide asbestos ban was implemented, prohibiting the manufacturing and use of all types of asbestos materials.

There are several health risks of asbestos exposure, contributing to various conditions and illnesses, including cancer. People who believe they have been in contact with asbestos should look out for exposure symptoms such as increasing shortness of breath, persistent cough, lung infections and other recurrent respiratory systems. The effects don’t just take a physical toll, it’s important to consider the emotional and mental impact as well.

Here are some of the most common asbestos-related illnesses:

Pleural plaques are benign areas of scar tissue on the lung lining, indicating past asbestos exposure. While usually symptomless and, in most cases, non-compensable, rare instances may result in a claim. Looking for more information on Pleural Plaque claims? You can find out more here.

Asbestos related pleural disease (ARPD) is a broad term used to describe abnormalities which occur in the lining of the lung, causing breathing problems or pain.

Asbestosis is chronic lung disease caused by prolonged inhalation of asbestos fibers, causing lung tissue scarring. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer primarily impacting the lung linings, occasionally affecting the abdomen and heart. Mesothelioma is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure.

Asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung cancer, particularly in smokers. Smoking combined with asbestos exposure significantly increases the likelihood of lung cancer.

What can I do if I have been exposed to asbestos?

Discovering that you may have been exposed to asbestos can be an unsettling experience and cause significant concern. While not everyone who is exposed to asbestos develops an asbestos-related disease, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Reach out to your regular doctor and make them aware of the possible risk of asbestos exposure so that your health can be monitored and any abnormalities can be picked up as early as possible..

It’s crucial to document potential asbestos exposure by recording dates and likely sources. Closely monitor any respiratory symptoms. If you later discover that you have developed an asbestos related condition, and choose to seek compensation, it’s valuable to have some asbestos history details recorded of your past exposure.

You can register your exposure with Gordon Legal here and keep a record of it. Registration is free and without any obligation to proceed further.

Can I claim if I have been exposed to asbestos?

If you have been exposed to asbestos and are diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, there may be grounds to file a compensation claim. Seeking compensation can help cover important costs such as medical expenses and lost income, as well as the physical and emotional toll individuals endure.

Through such difficult times, it’s important to get expert advice and seeking reputable legal advice can give you peace of mind as you navigate what’s to come.

Gordon Legal are pioneers in this space and provide experienced advice on asbestos-related compensation on a No-Win-No-Fee basis. With a proven track record in asbestos litigationyou’ll be in good hands. You can learn more about our No-Win-No-Fee cost structure here.

What is a Letter of Exposure to Asbestos?

A Letter of Exposure to Asbestos is a formal document from an employer that communicates the details of an individual’s exposure to asbestos. This document, although not critical to a claim can be helpful in legal proceedings to help verify where a person may have been exposedt to asbestos and contains information such as personal details, details of the exposure dates, locations and circumstances of exposure.

Although a letter of exposure can assist you in your claim, it is not necessary and if you are diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, you should seek legal advice about a claim, regardless of whether you have any documentary evidence to support your claim.

If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos, you can also register your exposure on the Gordon Legal website at

What legal actions can be taken for asbestos exposure?

The type of legal action that can be taken will depend on a range of factors, including the severity of your asbestos-related illness and when and where you were exposed to asbestos. It is important to seek legal advice and discuss the details of your situation as quickly as possible.

In many cases, pain and suffering damages are the largest component of a damages award. The amount awarded for pain and suffering is based on many factors, including how your asbestos-illness has impacted your lifestyle, ability to work, what the future looks like and the treatment you have had and will require in the future. If your case is filed within your lifetime, your entitlement to pain and suffering is protected for the benefit of those left behind. A damages award may also include amounts for medical expenses, care and assistance provided by family members and loss of earnings and earning capacity.

Other potential entitlements may include workers’ compensation benefits, personal insurance or a Total Permanent Disability policy.

To learn more about what you may be entitled to, contact one of our experienced lawyers specialising in Asbestos claims.

Does this information apply to you? Get in touch.

At Gordon Legal, we understand that asbestos-related illness is a personal issue.

For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.

Please call Gordon Legal on 03 9603 3000 to speak with one of our experienced asbestos lawyers about your entitlements.

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