Asbestos Dust warning - Cordon tape
Asbestos Dust warning - Cordon tape

Cancer battler’s legal bid over asbestos

A GOLD Coast retiree who is allegedly left with just five years to live due to decades of working with asbestos has taken manufacturers to court.

Nerang man Terence Joseph O'Rourke is suing asbestos manufacturers AMACA Pty Ltd and Seltsam Pty Ltd for more than $739,000 after being diagnosed with lung cancer and a list of other lung problems, which it is alleged are due to long-term exposure to asbestos dust.

Documents filed in the Southport District Court claim the resulting health issues have left the 79-year-old with just five years to live.

Terrance O’Rourke is battling lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos for decades while at work.
Terrance O’Rourke is battling lung cancer after being exposed to asbestos for decades while at work.

A man of similar age would usually be expected to live for 10 years.

Mr O'Rourke worked on the Townsville Regional Electricity Board from about 1956 to 1987 as a tradesman's assistant to the electrical linesman, court documents state.

"(Mr O'Rourke) regularly handled, cut, rasped, sawed and drilled asbestos cement building materials manufactured by (AMACA and Seltsam)," the documents say.

Mr O'Rouke also used asbestos materials made by the two manufacturers to build his home in the Townsville suburb of Deeragun, the documents said.

Mr O’Rourke claims he was not warned about the dangers.
Mr O’Rourke claims he was not warned about the dangers.

"As a consequence of his employment and residential construction, (Mr O'Rourke) was exposed to an inhaled asbestos dust and fibre and has contracted lung cancer, asbestosis, asbestos-related pleural thickening, asbestos-related pleural disease and bilateral calcified asbestos-related pleural plaques," the documents allege.

Mr O'Rourke claims in his court documents that AMACA and Seltsam knew there was a health risk associated with asbestos but still did not withdraw the products from sale or warnings about handling the products.

It is also alleged the two manufacturers did not do adequate research into the long-term health effects of asbestos and asbestos dust.

The court documents allege the resulting health problems from the asbestos exposure mean Mr O'Rourke will "suffer increasing symptoms as his asbestos conditions worsen over the remainder of his lifetime".

As well as a decreased life expectancy, Mr O'Rourke has been left in pain and discomfort and in need assistance from a carer, the court documents allege.

AMACA and Seltsam have yet to file a response to Mr O'Rourke's claims.

Originally published as Cancer battler's legal bid over asbestos



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