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Fresh Fears Prove Asbestos Diseases Are Not A Thing of the Past

On average, 20 workers die every week as a result of asbestos-related diseases.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) survey suggests it is possible that carpenters, decorators, painters and other tradespeople could come into contact with asbestos more than 100 times a year.

Fears have arisen after football star, Stuart Pearce, expressed concern over the lack of awareness for the deadly fibre during his four years as an apprentice electrician.

“The chances I worked with asbestos while an apprentice are high,” he said. “We were briefed on safety hats and boots but I don’t recall asbestos mentioned once. It’s chilling to think of the risks we were exposed to.”

HSE estimates that 1.3 million tradespeople are still at risk from the dangers of asbestos. Far from a thing of the past, their survey demonstrated that the belief in common asbestos safety myths still remain to this day. One in seven people believed drinking a glass of water would help protect them from the dust, whilst a further one in four thought opening a window would keep them safe.

Alarmingly, more than half of the survey participants made at least one potentially lethal mistake when trying to identify how to stay safe in an asbestos-contaminated workplace. Throughout the twentieth century, asbestos was used across many industries and construction sites. An affordable, naturally occurring heat-resistant material, it was effective as insulation for pipes, ceilings and wall cavities, and also because of its fire-resistant properties.

It was decades before the link between exposure to asbestos fibres and the contraction of deadly diseases such as mesothelioma were realised. Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the cells in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. Over 2,500 people in the UK are diagnosed each year and it typically can take between 20-60 years to develop after the initial exposure.

Whilst asbestos-related diagnoses are most common amongst those who held heavy industry and shipbuilding professions in the 1960s and 70s, it took until 1999 for the UK to implement a ban on the usage of all forms of asbestos. Although properties in both business and residential areas built after the year 2000 will not contain asbestos, those who have worked as tradespeople inside or outside buildings constructed before then could be at risk of Asbestosis, a chronic, long-term lung condition caused by exposure to asbestos.

Contracting this condition increases the risk of other life-threatening diseases such as pleural plaques, pleural thickening, asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.

If you believe you have been in contact with asbestos before the year 2000, and have developed an asbestos-related illness, it is highly recommended you seek legal representation, as you could be due compensation.

TLW Solicitors can offer assistance and advice if you think you have a claim; our dedicated team of solicitors are committed to pursuing the best possible outcome.

Please contact us for more information, or call 0800 169 5925.