A father-of-two went from happy and healthy to dying from cancer at just 45 in three years after unknowingly being exposed to asbestos on a construction site.
Colin Clarke, from Perth, died after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the cells of internal organs.
Mr Clarke noticed he was unusually out of breath while training for the Rottnest Island swim, so he went to the doctor to get checked out.
The Clarke family (pictured) was the picture of health before Collin Clark (bottom right) passed at 45 after being unknowingly exposed to asbestos
His wife Lizzie described the moment he told her she had the disease that kills more than 700 Australians a year.
‘He just looked at me and said, they think it’s cancer. That was when the world folded in,’ she told Seven News.
Medical experts believe Mr Clarke’s illness was caused by asbestos exposure at a Western Australian construction site.
Now Ms Clarke is working to educate people about the deadly substance and the diseases asbestos can inflict on workers who are exposed to it.
Asbestos was commonly used as insulation before the 1990s when its infamous legacy of lung damage caught up to it.
Since her husbands death, Lizzie Clarke (pictured) has worked to educate people on the risks associated with working with asbestos and the deadly disease it causes
Asbestos (pictured) was commonly used as insulation before it was realised the needle-like particles cause several deadly lung diseases
Although the substance is no longer used construction, workers are often exposed when they are renovating old buildings and breathe in the deadly dust particles.
WA has the highest rate of mesothelioma in the world due to its long history of mining the ‘blue poison’ and its abundance in the state.
The Australian Asbestos Network said it was the ‘needle like’ properties of asbestos particles that caused the disease.
‘It is thought to be caused by the body’s reaction to the needle like fibres of asbestos piercing the lining of the lung or abdomen,’ it said.
Tradies in WA now receive mandatory asbestos training as a precautionary measure before they are allowed to enter the construction industry.