Despite being banned in the UK in 1999, asbestos is still making the news regularly across the country. This is because asbestos-related illnesses often show no symptoms for several decades after exposure, meaning that a diagnosis can often come as a real shock to victims, who may have forgotten that they came into contact with this dangerous substance in the first place. We have compiled some of the ways in which asbestos has been hitting the headlines in September 2018.
A new study released by risk management firm, Lucion Services, has warned that the UK’s safety regulations and preventative measures in relation to asbestos are weaker than many other European countries. The paper, called “Why the UK needs tighter asbestos controls” compares the way that the UK deals with asbestos with the legislation, procedures and processes used by other countries in Europe. The study calls for the setting of occupational exposure limits in buildings known to contain high-risk asbestos and for regular inspections to take place, using air sampling technology, to better protect workers and others who could be in danger of exposure.
Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, along with the firefighters and other first responders who dealt with the disaster, should be monitored closely for signs of asbestos exposure, according to the senior coroner examining the deaths caused by the fire. Dr Fiona Wilcox noted her concern that no health screening programme seemed yet to have been put in place which could potentially result in a much earlier diagnosis of asbestos-related conditions for those who may have come into contact with the asbestos found in many of the building’s textured ceilings and airing cupboards. Dr Wilcox was concerned that later diagnosis could lead to a poorer prognosis for any victims of asbestos-related conditions, which, by their nature, only usually come to light many years after the exposure.
An inquest has heard that a “fit and well” woman from Oxford sadly passed away recently from mesothelioma, an almost exclusively asbestos-related cancer, despite being just 33 years of age. Rose Wharton, who worked as a medical researcher, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2017 and died at home in May 2018. Most cases of mesothelioma are found in patients aged between 60 and 80 years, often having been exposed to asbestos decades earlier. However, in this case, Ms Wharton’s family believe that her exposure may have occurred during a gap year spent in Argentina during her late teens, where she helped to construct a school.
A 65 year old man from Kent, who previously lost both of his brothers to mesothelioma and has now been diagnosed with the same condition himself, has been successful in his claim for asbestos compensation. Working as a builder on several construction sites during the 1970s, Andrew Nicholson was not provided with any protection from, or training about, the threat of asbestos dust, which was commonly used in construction at the time. Mr Nicholson was awarded £260,000 in his claim against two of his former employers, together with the payment of his future private medical expenses, including immunotherapy, which is not currently available on the NHS.
In the aftermath of a diagnosis for an asbestos-related disease, victims and their families may not know where to turn for support and advice. Dedicated Accident Solicitors are experts in asbestos-related claims and can also offer practical information for those who are unsure of their options and don’t know where to find help. Contact us today to discuss your options.