TV studio may cause cancer

ABC staff in Brisbane Australia walked off the job last week over concerns over a cluster of breast cancer cases at their studio and are threatening further industrial action unless the national broadcaster relocates its studios.

As many as 90 staff walked off the job on Friday, demanding their Toowong studios be relocated after a colleague, a mother of two in her early 30s, had a mastectomy this week.

The newsroom journalist who was diagnosed with breast cancer was the ninth employee in 11 years to be diagnosed with breast cancer and the 12th woman to be diagnosed with breast cancer, seven from the same work room at the riverfront studios.

Lawyers who have been asked to investigate possible legal action against the ABC, say the statistics are alarming.

Cases of thyroid, testicular and prostate cancer have also been reported at the site, and six women are believed to have had benign lumps or unusual breast tissue.

Queensland Health tests conducted last year which cleared the site of any dangers, have not satisfied the employees and the legal firm intends to carry out its own independent study into the studios.

Queensland Health Minister Stephen Robertson will meet with ABC staff for a briefing on last year's Queensland Health tests and says he understands the concerns expressed.

However Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Queensland says staff are angry and frustrated and are demanding to be relocated.

Staff are demanding a meeting with senior management within a week to discuss relocation to an alternative site.

Former ABC newsreader Jo Stone, 33, who has undergone four operations for breast cancer in the past year, says it is time management took the issue seriously and accepts that there is something in the building making people sick and it should be shut immediately.

ABC presenter Lisa Backhouse, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year says the staff believe it is an unsafe workplace and the issue is a very frightening one.

Brisbane ABC Radio and TV programming was diverted to Sydney until staff returned to the Toowong office.

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