SYDNEY, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Asbestos-related diseases will continue to be prominent in Australia for decades, a study has found.
In two separate studies, researchers from Perth's Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital, Monash University and Curtin Medical School, found that the lack of data about occupational lung diseases is limiting the identification of hazardous materials.
As a result, they said, the rate of asbestos-related mesothelioma in Australia was likely to remain relatively high for at least the next 40 years.
"Currently, very little information is collected regarding actual cases of occupational lung diseases in Australia. Most assumptions about many occupational lung diseases are based on extrapolation from overseas data," lead author Ryan Hoy wrote in the study which was published by the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) on Monday.
Hoy, along with co-author Fraser Brims, found that there was "minimal systematic collection of data" about occupational lung diseases such as asthma, cancer, bronchiolitis and obstructive pulmonary disease.
"Current data sources, such as workers' compensation statistics, provide little insight into the problem and are insufficient to target prevention activities," they wrote.
"There is a pressing need to gather systematic data on the causes, prevalence, incidence and impact of occupational lung diseases, such as through a national occupational disease registry."
In a separate study also published in MJA on Monday, researchers led by Bill Musk from Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital wrote that mesothelioma would remain prominent for "some decades."
"The numbers of new cases... have probably now reached their peak values in Australia, as in other most affected countries,"
"Given the continuing legacy of asbestos-containing materials in many Australian homes and buildings, there is increasing concern about people being exposed to asbestos when performing domestic tasks and renovations, and it is likely that the elevated prevalence of malignant mesothelioma in Australia will persist for some decades."