It must be near to 50c, the heat is unbearable, the sun is beating down and the air is thick but that is outside and its worse here in the mine and the mill, barely able to breathe and needing flood lights on during the day to see through the dust. That’s how hard the working conditions were if you were one of the 20,000 men, women or children who lived at Wittenoom in the early 40’s. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that any investigation was done into the effects of asbestos on the workers, in fact Dr Bruce Hunt who conducted the investigation advised the consulting doctor of the owners of the mine the company CSR of the apparent findings and implied if no action was taken then he would approach the premier at the time.
The sad thing here is that no action got taken as CSR threatened to shut the mine down if any restrictions were put into place. So many of these young men, women and children contracted mesothelioma a virtual death sentence because of the lack of care that should have been taken at this mine especially as CSR knew of the effects asbestos had with cancer (The Wittenoom Tragedy, 2012).
Surprisingly there are still residents living in the town, they claim that the level of asbestos is seven times less than what was recorded back in 1978 and measures have been put into place to rectify the problem (Wittenoom, 2004) however would you want to run the risk?
Wittenoom. [Webpage]. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/news/western-australia/wittenoom/2005/02/17/1108500208748.html
The Wittenoom Tragedy. [Webpage]. (2012). Retrieved from http://asbestosdiseases.org.au/asbestosinfo/wittenoom_tragedies.htm