Children of mining town hit by wave of cancers

People raised in the former mining town of Wittenoom in Western Australia have been hit by a wave of cancers and untimely deaths many decades following the closure of a nearby blue-asbestos mine in 1966.

The Herald Sun reports that a new Australian study examining the long-term impact of the mine on the health of town residents has found that children living in Wittenoom in the forties, fifties and sixties have suffered from far higher rates of a broad range of diseases.

Girls raised in the town were more likely to developer asbestos-related mesothelioma, as well as ovarian and brain cancers, while boys had higher rates of mesothelioma, leukemia, prostate, brain and colorectal cancer.

Childhood residents also suffered from a higher rate of early deaths and circulatory and nervous diseases, with the town's girls 20 – 47% and the town's boys 50 – 83% more likely to die of any cause compared to Western Australia's general population.

Wittenoom was originally situated only 1.6km from the mine, yet was shifted 12km further away in 1947 following local population growth.

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