Asbestos is a substance that was formerly used widely in construction, manufacturing, transport and various other industries in the 20th century. However, it became clear that many people who were exposed to asbestos fibres and inhaled them, often at work, would later develop respiratory problems and conditions that could be fatal. These asbestos-related illnesses include asbestosis, pleural thickening, asbestos-related lung cancer and another type of cancer called mesothelioma.
Asbestos was finally banned in all forms in the UK in 1999, but it still exists in many buildings that were built before the ban, including homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces. As it usually takes decades after asbestos exposure for any asbestos-related symptoms to appear, there are people who were exposed in the 1950s onwards, who are only being diagnosed now. Due to this historical asbestos exposure and the hidden dangers of asbestos still present in many buildings now, it is never far from the news. This is how asbestos has been making the headlines in November 2019.
A think tank report has called for UK asbestos regulations to be brought in line with those in other European countries and warns that children are being put at risk by the current standards. It is estimated that around 80% of UK schools and 94% of NHS trusts still contain asbestos and the think tank, ResPublica, believes that regular low-level exposure in such buildings are putting the next generation at risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses later in life.
A 36-year old man from Hampshire has passed away from mesothelioma, a cancer that is almost always associated with asbestos exposure. It is believed that he came into contact with asbestos when he fell through a garage roof as a child. This is a condition usually seen in older people who were exposed to asbestos during their working lives, but having potentially been exposed at the age of 10 years, Phil Moreton fell ill in his mid-thirties, making him one of the youngest people to die from this disease in the UK. Less than six weeks after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, Mr Moreton passed away, leaving behind his wife and five children. His widow, Kirsty, has vowed to raise awareness about asbestos dangers and raise funds for mesothelioma.
An inquest in Barrow has heard that the death of an 81-year old former shipyard fitter, Dougie Pritt, was due to his exposure to asbestos during his working life. Mr Pritt spent many years working on pipework for submarines and boats under maintenance where asbestos was used daily. His family reported that, before his death, Mr Pritt ‘always knew he’d get mesothelioma’ because he used to be able to ‘see the dust in the air’. The coroner concluded that Mr Pritt had died from an industrial disease.
A great grandmother from Derby has passed away from mesothelioma, which is thought to have been caused by washing her husband’s asbestos-covered work clothes many years earlier. Barbara Green was first taken ill in 2017 and was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which was treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Mrs Green responded well to treatment initially and was given the all-clear to go on holiday with her family. She even took part in a charity run, but shortly afterwards, the symptoms of the disease returned and sadly Mrs Green passed away just after her 76th birthday. Her family feel ‘robbed’ of the chance of more time with her and feel angered and frustrated that she died due to a preventable disease.
If you, or someone you know, has recently been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, there are services designed to offer you advice and support. It may also be possible for you to make a compensation claim. Dedicated Accident Solicitors are specialists in helping victims of asbestos exposure and their families to gain some justice for what has happened to them, by claiming against the insurers of the negligent employer, even if that employer has since ceased trading. We can also help you to access the practical support and advice that you need. Get in touch today to find out more.