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Asbestos News

Asbestos found at Australian mining site
Metals and mining corporation Rio Tinto confirmed recently that asbestos has been discovered at its West Angeles mine site in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

According to the news source, the Department of Mines and Petroleum is currently investigating the asbestos contamination at the site. The dangerous mineral fibers were reportedly identified in material that was brought in as landfill.

Though a Rio Tinto spokeswoman said that the asbestos exposure levels of employees were below the occupational exposure limit, precautions are being taken as the quarry from which the material came has been shut down. However, Steve McCann, safety officer for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, told the news source that further steps should be taken, as workers at the mine site could be in danger.

"The mine itself has been made aware; their position on the subject was until they receive confirmation from further testing, they were going to continue to use this," he said. "Now that borders on negligence as far as I'm concerned."

The potential dangers of asbestos exposure include the development of serious illnesses such as lung cancer, asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer. Such diseases claim the lives of approximately 107,000 individuals each year, according to the World Health Organization.

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