Here we go again. Silicosis, or scarring of the lungs due to inhalation of particulate matter or simply dust, sounds like the asbestos catastrophe, well known and documented for many years (‘The biggest lung disease crisis since asbestos: Our love of stone kitchen benchtops is killing workers’, ABC, 10/10).
Dangerous fibres are causing havoc on the respiratory systems of those folk who are regularly in the business of generating the dust in many ways, including cutting concrete or newer products like manufactured marble bench tops.
Silicosis, a stonemason’s affliction, had been known well before asbestos became the villain. We have a training system that deals well with the asbestos dilemma, and workers are compelled to obtain this training before starting the work, but materials containing silica seldom get a mention. This is now evident, with silicosis raising its rotten head again.
When will we learn and take action for our own safety? Regardless of the excuses, the facts are clear in regards to the respiration of fibres that the body cannot handle. Silica fibres are up there with the best of them. I can almost hear the late Bernie Banton saying here we go again. Powered positive air respirators must become the norm for the best protection from the fibres which do all the damage. Protecting your lungs is key.
If you do nothing else, protect your respiratory system. Tradies, take command and control of your future
Bryan Laybourn, Mayfield East
BALANCE IS OUT ON LIVES
THIS is a cry for balance and perspective in our lives. When American comedian Trevor Noah asked a large audience how many men in his audience had been wrongly accused of sexual harassment, no-one put up their hand. When he asked how many women had been sexually abused, harassed or assaulted lots of female hands went up.
Some people are concerned about how women speaking out causes the destruction of the man’s life. One example used is Brett Kavanaugh ('Kavanaugh sworn in to US Supreme Court’, Newcastle Herald, 8/10) but it is important to realise that Mr Kavanaugh has just been appointed to the the highest level of the American judiciary. Does this sound like a destroyed life?
On the other hand, six women have been assaulted and murdered in the last five days in Australia alone. Those sound like destroyed lives to me! I want to encourage women, and men, to continue to speak out about the destruction of lives. Every time a man (or woman) assaults another, they are destroying themselves and need help. We all deserve a respected life, so please speak out.
Joan McCarthy, Wangi Wangi
KIDS DON’T WANT HIERARCHY
IF LEFT to themselves, Kevin McDonald (Letters, 10/10), I believe children would choose to attend a regular state school. Kids just want to be with other kids. It is parents who force segregation by splitting them from their neighbourhood playmates and the children they have formed friendships with in primary school.
Children pick up that the school their parents have paid well for them to attend must be superior to the one down the road where you pay next to nothing. It follows that if mum and dad have paid more for your education, then you must be better.
If you want a religious education for your child, the best place to start is in the home by example and love, not by indoctrination. And if you believe we are all made in the image of God, prove it by sending your child to a state school where all are welcome, treated equally and educated well.
I believe paying more for what you believe is a better chance than others smacks of snobbery and elitism.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
WE’RE PROJECTING AS WELL
NOVOCASTRIANS may feel removed from all the action in Sydney as people rise up against the idea of their world heritage icon being used as billboard for advertising a horse race (‘Opera House law contest’, Herald, 10/10).
Of course, those with an interest in doing just that argue they are promoting Sydney as a world-class destination, not advertising their own wares.
Sydney will be 'showcased' to the world. But Novocastrians have heard this story before, brought to us by the same people.
It was Destination NSW who came up with the idea of projecting the images of the Everest event onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House, and it was Destination NSW who convinced City of Newcastle that Supercars would project images of Newcastle to the world and help turn the Hunter’s capital into a world-class city.
I believe the council fell for it hook, line and sinker. It didn't matter that the motor-racing circuit would cut through our own heritage precinct, negatively affect our own local businesses and put our most popular amenities behind concrete barricades and wire fencing for up to 10 weeks every year, nor did it seem to matter when more people seemed to leave the city than come into the city for the “biggest event ever’.
Novocastrians were right to feel proud that their city made such a spectacular backdrop for TV viewing but, like Sydneysiders, I believe they need to question whose interests were really being promoted by staging this major event.
Christine Everingham, Newcastle East
CLOSING DOORS IS NOT OPEN
THE result of the “non- binding plebiscite” on the issue of marriage equality indicated overwhelmingly that the people of Australia believed discrimination to be unacceptable in our democratic system. Yet with the ink barely dry on the marriage equality legislation Malcolm Turnbull, with an eye to remaining leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister, buckled to the Coalition’s ultra-conservatives.
Mr Turnbull, hoping to gain sufficient brownie points to remain in office, provided the ultra-conservatives of the Liberal-National Party an alternative avenue by which to prosecute their discriminatory agenda: an “expert panel”, with that arch old conservative Phillip Ruddock as chairman, was created to conduct an inquiry into religious freedom (‘Philip Ruddock plays down religious freedoms report recommendations, says discrimination law should be 'contracted'’, ABC 10/10). The inquiry’s final report was provided to the Prime Minister in May, and members of the panel were unable to immediately discuss details of it. I believe this absence of transparency and of political accountability has the potential for even worse discrimination to be applied against individuals such as school teachers or pupils who do not fit the mould. The secrecy associated with the inquiry itself was, I believe, clearly undemocratic.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
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