Asbestos related diseases are chronic illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos and sadly the incidence of asbestos related conditions continues to rise.
Individuals have largely been affected by asbestos due to being exposed in a working environment and breathing in the long and thin fibrous crystals. When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious respiratory diseases which are responsible for around 4,500 deaths a year. There are four main diseases caused by asbestos: mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and diffuse pleural thickening.
Repeated occupational exposure to the deadly dust can give rise to a substantial cumulative exposure over time and will increase the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease in the future. Asbestos diseases can take decades to develop after the initial exposure.
Many of the affected workers have no warning about the exposure and are not provided with the appropriate protective equipment such as masks to protect themselves from the dust.
Those working as engineers, plumbers, joiners, bricklayers, roofers and painters may have all been exposed to asbestos since the 1950’s. Given that asbestos still remains present in many buildings, exposure during renovation or building works continues.
Asbestos was extensively used as a building material in the UK from this time through to 1999 when the final form of asbestos, known as white asbestos, was banned. It became recognised as a serious health threat to those who were exposed.
Asbestos was used for a variety of purposes, such as fireproofing and insulation. Any building built before the year 2000, including houses, factories, offices, schools, and hospitals are likely to contain asbestos in some form of another.
It is important to remember that people who smoke and are also exposed to asbestos fibres are at a much greater risk of developing asbestos related lung cancer. The two factors work in a synergistic way to increase the risk.
If you have been exposed to asbestos dust and your GP has diagnosed that you are suffering from an asbestos-related illness, contact us immediately to find out if we can help you pursue a claim.