'It just crushes the breath out of you'

June 10, 2016 at 10:13 AM

After news of asbestos being illegally imported from China was recently revealed in South Australia, members of the South Australia Asbestos Victims Association, who meet every month in Adelaide, say the importation issue has provoked anger.

It upsets Lesley Shears, who lost her husband to an asbestos-related disease.

"The thought [upsets me] that the imports are still coming in because China doesn't count chrysotile as being asbestos," she said.

She said there had been few prosecutions despite powers existing.

Maxine Williams also lost her husband and said the latest controversy saddened her.

"Something that is being allowed into the country by government areas; it just should not be happening but it is happening and it's sad," she said.

Mesothelioma sufferer Steve Kirwan feared a new generation of victims might emerge from the imports problem.

He was exposed to asbestos when he was an apprentice fitter in England in the 1970s but was only diagnosed last year.

"It should be banned, obviously, it's got to be banned all over the world," he said.

"The tumour ... eventually crushes your lung and it's malignant so it spreads to your other one, so it just crushes the breath out of you," he said.

Mr Kirwan is getting an experimental treatment but said he faced significant out-of-pocket expenses because it was for a drug which was not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for his condition.

"It's going to cost me $4,500 every three weeks," he said.

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