It was a winter’s day when Herman Maifoffer walked out of his home for what he knew would be the last time.
He had helped build the small three-bedroom house in Cabramatta where his three children had grown up and where he had lived for 40 years. As he was wheeled into an ambulance, his wife Rosemary asked if he wanted one last look around. “No,” he said. “I just want to go, because this house killed me.”
Six days later, on August 17, 2015, he died of mesothelioma. Rosemary can see the thing that killed him from her kitchen sink – a children’s bedroom. She helped build it.
Herman is a member of the third wave of asbestos victims. The first wave mined asbestos and the second wave – generally tradespeople – worked with manufactured asbestos. They suffered mesothelioma and other conditions associated with high asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis.
The third wave brought it into their homes, mostly do-it-yourself renovators exposed to asbestos while fixing up the family home.
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