20 people who lived less than one mile from two separate Australia asbestos factories have been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer since 1982. Although the factories were closed in the 80s, those who were affected are just now beginning to show signs of symptoms.
Mesothelioma is a severe form of cancer that most commonly affects the abdominal cavity. It is directly related to asbestos exposure, which can occur either first hand by working with asbestos products, secondhand by being near somebody who may have been near asbestos, or in this case, living near a plant that manufactures asbestos products.
Asbestos was used heavily in construction and industrial workplaces from the 1940s through the 1970s. Though the product is now banned in the United States and restricted throughout much of the rest of the world, thousands of people are diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses every year. Tens of thousands of asbestos lawsuits have been filed against companies by patients who allege that they knowingly exposed them to the carcinogenic material.