Silicosis Support Network to visit the Sunshine Coast

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Queensland’s first support network for silicosis sufferers will be holding a free community forum on the Sunshine Coast on Saturday 3 August at the Maroochydore RSL club commencing at 11am.

Silicosis is a preventable occupational lung disease occurring in workers as a result of exposure to silica dust. It can occur in various industries, with recent cases related to the manufacture and installation of artificial stone bench tops.

Already over 160 Queenslanders have been diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease. Of these, more than 20 – including one man of just 22 years of age – have been diagnosed with progressive massive fibrosis (PMF), which is a death sentence.

The Silicosis Support Network, an offshoot of the long-established Asbestos Disease Support Society, is Queensland’s only support group aiming to help sufferers of silicosis, as well as their families and carers.

ADSS General Manager Trevor Torrens described silicosis as “an epidemic”, and one that posed a grave risk to the thousands of workers in the manufacturing and the construction industries, especially those working with engineered stone (as used in kitchen benchtops, vanity units and the like).

“All they did was turn up to work to earn a living and now many do not know what the future holds. You shouldn’t get diagnosed with a preventable industrial disease in 2019” Mr. Torrens said. “There is no doubt that the regulatory framework has failed these workers” he said.

The forum’s keynote speaker is Dr Katrina Newbigin. Dr Newbigin is a specialist thoracic radiologist and is also the first Australian to obtain B-reader certification, a qualification to diagnose occupational lung disease from radiographic imaging. Dr Newbigin also founded and is the Principal Investigator at the Wesley Dust Disease Research Centre and is a member of the Silicosis Medical Reference Group, which is tasked with providing advice to the Qld Government and medical practitioners on silicosis and coal workers pneumoconiosis.

Staff from the Network, including a qualified social worker will also be available to discuss any support needs for people who have been diagnosed with silicosis.

Sufferers of silicosis, their families and carers requiring support can also contact the network on 1800 776 412 or email inquiries@adss.org.au

Details of the Forum

Date:               Saturday 3 July

Time:              11am to 12.30pm

Venue:             Maroochydore RSL

Further Information: Trevor Torrens M: 0435 895 928

The Silicosis Support Network is the registered business name of the Asbestos Disease Support Society, a registered charity.

Posted in Media releases

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