Raising Awareness for Asbestos Cancer and Mesothelioma
Friday, 2nd July 2010 was Action Mesothelioma Day. This is an annual event supported by the British Lung Foundation to raise awareness of the deadly asbestos cancer, mesothelioma, which continues to rise in incidence.
Virtually all cases of mesothelioma cancer are linked with asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer of the thoracic and abdominal cavities and occurs in the mesothelial cells covering the outer surface of most of our internal organs. Mesothelium is a lining which gives the disease its name, the disease most commonly occurs in the tissues covering the lungs.
The focus of the Action Mesothelioma Day campaign this year was DIY in the home and it aimed to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos in homes, particularly to those engaging in DIY tasks who are at risk of disturbing asbestos materials.
Many people think that asbestos is a thing of the past and there is no need to worry about it anymore. Unfortunately, this is not the case and asbestos is still present in many homes, nationwide. Any building built or refurbished before the year 2000 could contain asbestos as part of its construction as use of white asbestos was not banned from use in the UK until 1999.
When asbestos is undisturbed, remaining in good condition, it does not pose a significant health risk. In contrast, when asbestos materials are disturbed and the dust and fibres are released into the atmosphere, the material becomes extremely dangerous to health.
Most will find it surprising that asbestos may be present in the construction of buildings built before 2000. The main asbestos products used in the construction process were:
- Soffits, guttering and rainwater pipes
- Corrogated cement and outbuilding roofs
- Insulation lagging on pipes, storage heaters and boilers
- Floor and ceiling tiles
- Panels above doors
- Insulation linings in walls, ceilings and doors
- Loose asbestos packing in floors and partition walls
- Bath panels
- Central heating flues
- Fire blankets
It is important that before carrying out any DIY, people are aware of the materials they are working with and the danger they could pose. If in any doubt, before starting work people should contact an accredited contractor for advice.
There are a number of ways to find out if a building contains asbestos. Building plans often contain this information, as do any building documents such as invoices from builders. An inspection of the inside and outside of a building can be done to identify any asbestos containing materials. Alternatively, consulting architects may also assist.
Be Asbestos Aware
A number of events took place across the country to mark Action Mesothelioma Day, including dove releases and conferences with medical and legal experts.
Members of our Industrial Disease Department organised an event in Chester City Centre to help raise awareness of asbestos in the home to assist in making the public more asbestos aware.
Working in conjunction with a construction firm, Trustland Group, the department set up a stand at a local bar and restaurant, The Coach House in order to provide advice to the public on asbestos and its use in the construction of homes.
Our team gave out leaflets to passersby and answered any questions people might have about asbestos and asbestos related conditions.
Head of the Asbestos Disease Department, Helena Jones said “It was surprising how many people did not know that asbestos was not banned until 1999. A number of people we spoke to thought that all asbestos had been removed from buildings and no longer posed a risk. This only highlighted the importance of Action Mesothelioma Day and the need to raise awareness of asbestos.”
At 3pm we released 100 red balloons, the symbol of the British Lung Foundation, into the sky in memory of all those who have been affected by mesothelioma.
In 1968, 153 people passed away due to mesothelioma. In 2007, 2156 deaths nationwide were recorded as being due to mesothelioma and the number of deaths is sadly rising each year. It is expected that the number of mesothelioma deaths will peak around 2016, however the latency period of the disease means that it is difficult know when the number will begin to fall.
If you have any questions about the newsletter or if you think you may have a claim for compensation please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 058 2737.
Oliver & Co Solicitors empathise with the circumstances of the clients we represent which is why we support the British Lung Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support.