An estimated 5,000 people die from asbestos-related illnesses every year in the UK, mostly caused by their exposure to asbestos several decades ago, before the substance was finally banned, in all forms, in the UK in the late 1990s. Before the ban, asbestos use was widespread in many industries, including construction, rail and ship building, and many buildings constructed or renovated before the year 2000 are still likely to contain asbestos. As the symptoms of illness often take so long to materialise, a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness often comes as a real shock for the victims and their families. To help raise awareness of the impact that asbestos is having on the lives of thousands of people each year, and some of the support that is available to help, we have compiled a roundup of some of the most recent asbestos-related news from the around the UK.
A family in Scotland have been awarded nearly £250,000 after their mother passed away from mesothelioma, an aggressive asbestos-related cancer. Her exposure to asbestos dust was believed to have come from her husband’s overalls when he worked in a boiler-making factory. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Adrienne Sweeney, who died in 2015, would launder her husband’s work clothes, with no idea that it was putting her, and potentially her children, at risk. Her daughter, Kay Gibson, representing the family, said that the compensation gave her late mother “the justice she wanted in life and that we sought on her behalf after her painful and unnecessary premature death. We, her children, await to see if we will suffer the same fate”.
A Merseyside community has expressed concerns that a new housing development in the neighbourhood is putting local people and workers at risk, due to digging up suspected asbestos material as part of the ground work. A local councillor for Formby, Bob Mcann, believes that there is a “serious issue” of asbestos at the site and wants to ensure that the developers deal with the suspected asbestos quickly and taking the appropriate safety measures, as required by law, to protect both workers and local residents in the area.
The widow of a West Yorkshire man, who recently died as a result of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining, has vowed to continue her husband’s battle to bring the companies responsible for his asbestos exposure to justice. John Bryden died at the age of 73, just over a year after he first started experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma, which included breathlessness and chest pains. It’s believed that he was exposed to asbestos whilst he was working as a joiner in the construction industry between 1961 and 1975 for a number of different employers.
An 83 year old grandfather from Newcastle believes that his work as a labourer for a company in the early 1970s, over a period of 18-months, is the reason that he is now housebound after being diagnosed with asbestosis. James Calvert has distinct memories of the working environment at the time: “Dust would fill the air during the work and it often meant that I would get a mouthful of it, as I was never provided with any specialist equipment or protection”. After first developing breathing problems in 2016, James was diagnosed with asbestosis, and the condition has had a huge impact on his daily life: “It has now got to the point where I cannot leave the house, I can’t drive, I have had to give up my allotment and I am losing lots of weight.” He is now seeking to make a claim against his former employer and feels that he “deserves answers” about what happened to him.
If you, or someone close to you, has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness and you want to discuss the options or find out what support is available, contact the team at Dedicated Accident Solicitors for expert advice.