11:28 am, Wednesday 22 February, 2012
In an article on the Medical Journal of Australia published on Monday, Professor Lin Fritschi and co-authors said an estimated 5000 cancers each year are caused by occupational exposures. According to a report by the Herald Sun, the authors said that not enough is being done on Australia’s regulatory approach to reduce occupational carcinogens.
“Work-related cancer attracts considerable public and media attention, but has received limited attention from researchers and policymakers in Australia, particularly in comparison to other cancers, such as those related to tobacco use and sun exposure,” said the authors.
They also write that little is being done to inform people about the health risks.
“Poor awareness of exposure to occupational carcinogens and (a) lack of attribution of cancer to occupational causes…limit opportunities to reduce the likelihood and extent of exposure.
“In addition, potentially legitimate compensation causes are not pursued.”
The authors recommend collecting more data to prevent future workplace cancers. Australian health and occupational authorities are also encouraged to study the people being exposed to carcinogens, the industries where the exposure happen as well as concentration and frequency of exposures.
“In addition, audits and reviews should be instigated to determine what is being done to introduce best practice to Australia,” said the authors.