Fibres such as these have been shedding into the atmosphere for aeons. These fibres have been floating in the air since the year dot, it is estimated that for every million people, one will contract mesothelioma without ever being in direct contact with asbestos materials.
The Whens of Wittenoom
Somehow the information I collated during the construction of the chronology has now been distorted, conflated or exaggerated. Anyone sufficiently keen to explore the content can use Coupon JG29X for a free copy from Smashwords. (Limit of 25 free copies)
(My many thanks to Allen Kelly for doing the legwork in the library on my behalf in locating and copying the cited articles. Armed with a list of several hundred, these were either immediately accessible or fitted within his time frame and my budget. Thus the Bibliography can be regarded as a semi-random sample of the literature available.)
My personal view: The Reason This Document was Created
If people want to place themselves in any form of danger, that is their right – as long as they are aware of the danger at a time when they are able to make such a choice.
For instance, tourists and travellers often look to camp for the night about late afternoon. Few really want to deal with kangaroos at dusk or night-time if it can be avoided. At the time of compiling the above, no warning was available until arriving on the very outskirts of the town. The choice was camp for at least one night or move along forty kilometres of gravel road at night.
The ABC came to town to tape a show for the WA “Today Tonight.” A car load of young European backpackers had booked into the caravan park where I was caretaking (and getting to grips with the above.) The lads heard the discussion during their evening meal at the café and later came to me for my side. One of them had been to Wittenoom before and had recommended it to his friends. He and one other asked me what all the fuss was about. One listened as I explained and the other watched my every movement. I told them that were my children to be visiting their country and about to enter an area of potential danger known to locals, I would hope that their mothers would inform them of the risk, advise them of their freedom to choose and wish them well whatever their choice. They drove into the night.
Spent Christmas Day being warned off with scarcely veiled threats of dirt in my fuel tank; accounts that 25% of the population (including my informant) already had cancer, so what the heck – though he himself had cured himself with meditation or marijuana? Also, many chose to live in Wittenoom attracted by the fact there was no police presence in town.
The information contained within was drawn from:
1953 Australian Blue Asbestos
Report of Operations at Wittenoom Gorge, WA
1978 The Health Hazard at Wittenoom
Public Health Department
1979 Exposure to Crocidolite in Wittenoom
Public Health Department
1984 Report on the Health Hazards of Asbestos
National Health and Medical Research Council 1985 Wittenoom Environmental Engineering Study
Geraldton Building Co Pty Ltd
1986 Wittenoom Airborne Asbestos Study Department of Conservation and Environment
1990 Asbestos Cement Products
The Western Australian Advisory Committee on Hazardous
1992 Inquiry into Asbestos Issues at Wittenoom
Nevill & Rogers Report
1993 Australian Mesothelioma Register Report
The incidence of mesothelioma in Australia 1989 to 1991 1994 Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Constitutional
Affairs and Statutes Revision in relation to a
Petition concerning the town of Wittenoom
1994 CMPS & F – Wittenoom Rehabilitation Study and Risk Assessment
Building Management Authority
1994 Report of the Select Committee appointed to Enquire into Wittenoom.
(Transcripts given in evidence to the above
Parliamentary Library, Parliament House, Perth)
(back to top)
AN 120/4, 1003, 14/58 Public Health Department 473/64
AN 21, 21/62 Minister for North West
AN 350, 964, 413/43 Department of Mines
789/45 Gaps in list below indicate files not seen as it seems the Department of Minerals and Energy called in four of the files on the “hit list” just hours before my being due to view them in the Archives Not tending to paranoia, I took it as a sign that it was time to go home.
1962 Medical Journal of Australia 2, 953-4
Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in an Asbestos Worker
1969 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 26, 294-301
A study of the mortality of workers in an asbestos factory ML Newhouse
1969 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 26, 302-7 Validation of death certificates in asbestos workers
ML Newhouse, JC Wagner
1970 Cancer, 26, 914-9
Epidemiology of primary malignant mesothelial tumours in Canada
AD McDonald, A Harper, OA El Attar, JC McDonald
1971 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 28, 59-66 Epidemiology of mesothelioma on Walcheren Island
1972 British Journal of Industrial Medicine 29, 134-141 A study of the mortality of female asbestos workers ML Newhouse, G Berry, JC Wagner, ME Turok
1973 South African Medical Journal 47, 165-171
Asbestos and malignancy
1973 Cancer, 31, 869-876
Primary malignant mesothelial tumours in Canada 1960-1968
AD McDonald, D Magner, G Eyssen
1973 British Journal of Cancer, 28, 173-185
Mesothelioma in rats after inoculation with asbestos and other materials
JC Wagner, G Berry, V Timbrell
1973 Canadian Medical Association Journal, 109, 359-362 Epidemiologic surveillance of mesothelioma in Canada
1974 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 31, 91-104 Mesothelioma Register 1967-1968
M Greenberg, TA Lloyd Davies
1974 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 31, 105-112 Mortality and morbidity among the working population of anthophyllite asbestos miners in Finland
LO Meurman, R Kiviluoto, R Hakama
1976 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 33, 115-122
32 cases of mesothelioma in Victoria, Australia :
a retrospective survey related to occupational asbestos exposure.
1976 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 33, 147-151 Prediction of mortality from mesothelioma tumours in asbestos factory workers
ML Newhouse, G Berry
1976 Cancer Research, 36, 2973-2979
Fundamental carcinogenic process and their implications for low dose risk assessment
KS Crump, DG Hoel, CH Langley, R Peto
1977 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 34, 169-173
A mortality study among workers in an English asbestos factory
J Peto, R Doll, SV Howard, LJ Kinlen, HC Lewinson
1977 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 34, 174-180 Insulation workers in Belfast. A further study of mortality due to asbestos exposure (1940-75)
PC Elmes, MJC Simpson
1977 The Lancet, December, 1211-1212
1978 South Africal Medical Journal, 279-281
Mesothelioma in relation to asbestos fibre exposure
E Cochrane, I Webster
1979 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 36, 187-194 Mortality of chrysotile workers at the Balangero Mine, Northern Itlay.
GF Rubino, G Piolatto, ML Newhouse, G Scansetti,
GA Aresini, R Murray
1981 International Journal of Health Services, 11, 227-245
The social context of occupational disease : Asbestos and South Africa
1980 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 37, 11-24
Dust exposure and mortality in chrysotile mining, 1910-75 JC McDonald, FDK Liddell, GW Gibbs, E Eyssen, AD McDonald
1980 Cancer, 46, 1650-1656
Malignant mesothelioma in North America
AD McDonald, JC McDonald
1980 Cancer Research, 40, 3875-3879
Mesothelioma associated with the shipbuilding industry in coastal Virginia.
I Tagnon, WJ Blot, RB Stroube, NE Day, LE Morris,
BB Pearce, JF Fraumeni Jr.
1981 JNCI, 67, 965-975
Relation of particle dimension to carcinogenicity in amphibole and other fibrous minerals.
MF Stanton, M Layard, A Tegarie, E Miller, M May,
E Morgan, A Smith
1982 Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 26, 347-369
Deposition and retention of fibres in the human lung.
1982 Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 26, 869-887
Estimates of dose-response for respiratory cancer among chrysotile asbestos textile workers.
JM Dement, RL Harris, MJ Symons, C Shy
1982 Cancer, 45, 124-135
Mesothelioma mortality in asbestos workers : Implications for models of carcinogenesis and risk assessment
J Peto, H Seidman, IJ Selikoff
1982 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 39, 369-374
Dust exposure and mortality in an American factory using chrysotile, amosite and crocidolite in mainly textile manufacture.
AD McDonald, JS Fry, AJ Woolley, JC McDonald
1982 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 39, 344-348 Mortality of two groups of women who manufactured gas masks from chrysotile and crocidolite asbestos: a
40 year follow-up.
ED Acheson, MJ Gardner, EC Pippard, LP Grime
1982 Australian New Zealand Journal of Medicine, 12, 229-232 Convential treatment and its effect on survival of malignant pleural mesothelioma in Western Australia
AW Musk, SD Woodward
1983 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 40, 1-7 Mortality of workers manufacturing friction materials using asbestos
G Berry, ML Newhouse
1983 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 40, 145-152 Asbestos-related mesothelioma: factors discriminating between pleural and peritoneal sites.
K Browne, WJ Smither
1983 British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 40, 361-367 Dust exposure and mortality in an American chrysotile textile plant.
AD McDonald, JS Fry, AJ Woolley, J McDonald
1983 The Lancet, July, 112-113
Trends in mortality of diffuse malignant mesothelioma of pleura
VE Archer, WN Rom
1983 American Journal of Public Health, 73, 1054-1062 Sentinel health events (occupational): A basis for physician recognition and public health surveillance DD Rutstein, RJ Mullan, TM Frazier, WE Halperin,
JM Melius, JP Sestito
1984 American Review REspiratory Diseases, 130, 1042-1045 Lung asbestos content in chrysotile workers with mesothelioma.
A Churg, B Wiggs, L Depoli, B Kampe, B Stevens
1984 Medical Journal of Australia, 141, 86-88
Epidemiology of malignant mesothelioma in Western Australia
1984 Canadian Medical Association Journal, 131, 1069-1071
Recent trends in incidence rates of pleural mesothelioma in British Columbia
HI Morrison, PR Band, R Gallagher, J Spinelli, DT Wigle 1985 Britsh Journal of Cancer, 51, 121-126
Mesothelioma of the peritoneum during 1967-82 in England and Wales
MJ Gardner, RD Jones, EC Pippard, N Saitoh
1985 British Journal of Cancer, 51, 699-705
Trend and distribution of mesothelioma in Denmark
M Andersson, JH Olsen
1985 Medical Journal of Australia, 143, 185-187
Trends in mortality from malignant mesothelioma of the pleura, and production and use of asbestos in Australia Zhong Xu, BK Armstrong, BJ Blundson, JM Rogers, AW Musk, KB Shilkin
1985 Cancer, 55, 672-674
Malignant mesothelioma in British Columbia in 1982
1986 Cancer, 57, 1905-1911
Mesothelioma and Mineral Fibres
Charles S Mott Prize
1986 American Journal of Epidemiology, 123, 30-40
Excess mortality from stomach cancer, lung cancer and asbestosis and/or mesothelioma in crocidolite mining districts in South Africa
JL Botha, LM Irwig, PM Strebel
1986 American Review Respiratory Diseases, 133, 5-13
Asbestos exposure – quantitative assessment of risk
JM Hughes, H Weill
1987 JNCI, 79, 31-37
Geographic patterns for pleural mesothelioma deaths in the United States 1968-81
PE Enterline, VL Henderson
1987 International Journal of Health Services, 17, 651-666 Asbestos and asbestos related disease: the South African case
JE Myers, J Aron, IA Macum
1987 Medical Journal of Australia, 147, 166-172
The Australian mesothelioma surveillance program 1979-85 DA Ferguson, G Berry, T Jelihovsky, SB Andreas, AJ Rogers S Chung Fung, A Grimwood, R Thompson
1989 Medical Journal of Australia, 150, 242-246
The incidence of malignant mesothelioma in Australia 1947-1980
1989 Medical Journal of Australia, 151, 616-620
Predictions of future cases of asbestos-related disease among former miners and millers of crocidolite in Western Australia.
NH de Klerk, BK Armstrong, AW Musk, MST Hobbs
1990 Science, 247, 294-301
Asbestos: scientific developments and implications for public policy
BT Mossman, J Bignon, M Corn, A Seaton, JBL Gee
1990 Medical Journal of Australia, 152, 617-618
Low level asbestos – the priorities are wrong
1991 The Lancet, 338, 50 (letter)
Mesothelioma and non-occupational environmental exposure to asbestos
C Magnani, G Borgo, GP Betta, M Botta, C Ivalvi, F Mollo, M Scelzi, B terracini
1993 International Journal of Cancer, 54, 578-581
Malignant mesothelioma after environmental exposure to blue asbestos
J Hansen, NH de Klerk, JL Eccles, AW Musk, MST Hobbs
(My many thanks to Allen Kelly for doing the legwork in the library on my behalf in locating and copying the above articles. Armed with a list of several hundred, the above were either immediately accessible or fitted within his time frame and my budget. Thus it can be regarded as a semi-random sample of the literature available.)
1948 Minerals of Western Australia (Three Volumes)
1978 Asbestos – Work as a Health Hazard
M Peacock, ABC Science Unit
ABC with Hodder and Stoughton 1979 2000 Cancer Causing Agents
Crown Publishers, New York
1986 Asbestos – Its Human Cost Jock McCulloch
University of Queensland Press, St Lucia 1987 Asbestos-Related Malignancy
Edited by K Antman, J Aisner
Grune & Stratton, Inc. Orlando, Florida, USA 1988 The Genetic Jigsaw
Oxford University Press
1988 Silent Killers
1991 Managing Occupational Health and Safety in Australia
M Quinlan, P Bohle
1994 Malignant Mesothelioma
- DW Henderson, KB Shilkin, D Whitaker, SLP Langlois Hemisphere, New York.
(With great appreciation to Lenore Layman. Her very thorough research enabled me to access documents within the State Archives with great rapidity.)
The Encyclopedia Britannica for details relating to pneumoconiosis.
Copy of tenement records for West Pilara Goldfield.
Note : due to the late finding of a page missing from the batch of microfiche copied, it is possible that the acreages are not as accurate as I would prefer. I am missing information relating to ten applications. These may have been made by persons other than either ABA or Hancock; or by ABA alone; Hancock alone; or between the two or with others. All up the maximum total acreage affected would be 3000 down to less than 300. As this does not affect the Chronology in a substantial manner – and I have a distance to travel to correct it, I will have to let it stand.
Title searches Department of Minerals and Energy and the Department of Lands Administration.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Year Books
Iron Ore (Wittenoom) Agreement 1972
Iron Ore (Wittenoom) Agreement Amendment Act 1992
Shire of Ashburton Council Minutes 1990 – 1994
Supreme Court of Western Australia
View of all 1993 and 1994 Writs and related documents.