With asbestos-related conditions responsible for thousands of UK deaths every year, we want to raise awareness about exposure to asbestos, both historical and current, to let the people affected know that they are not alone and that there is support available. We have compiled a roundup of some of the many ways that asbestos has been making the news over the last few weeks.
The BBC has reported that asbestos fly-tipping has hit a 10-year high in Wales, with reported cases increasing 57% on last year. The cost to local councils of safely removing asbestos waste that has been carelessly dumped can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds in larger cities. The report states that asbestos waste is commonly dumped by the roadside or next to footpaths, making it an urgent concern for passers-by and locals, due to the health risks posed.
An inquest into the death of Professor Dennis Shaw, the former Keeper of the Books at Oxford University’s famous Bodleian Library, has heard that the building work that took place there during his tenure was likely to be one of the causes of the asbestos exposure that is thought to have caused his terminal lung cancer condition, mesothelioma. Shaw sadly passed away in July 2017 after being diagnosed in December 2016. However, before his death, he cited a list of building projects during his career which he felt could have caused his illness, which included his time at the Bodleian library.
A Chepstow man has issued a warning to former colleagues about the dangers of asbestos exposure in educational facilities, after his own exposure during his teaching career has left him living out his final days in a hospice. Geoffrey Lee was unknowingly exposed to blue asbestos on a daily basis for ten years whilst he was a teacher at, what was then called, the Newport College of Further Education. It was only decades later, when he visited the doctor with pain in his right side and chest problems, that he discovered that he was suffering from mesothelioma, an aggressive form of lung cancer caused by his exposure to asbestos. Mr Lee has now moved from the family home into a hospice to receive the palliative care needed as he reaches the end of his life, aged 72.
It has been revealed that Telford & Wrekin Council has set aside around £190,000, to safely manage and remove asbestos that has been discovered at three primary schools in the region, to undertake surveys at other schools in the borough and to provide awareness training over the course of the next two years. This was brought to light by campaigner, Lucie Stephens, who is trying to bring about changes in the law to ensure that parents are kept informed about any asbestos risks in schools. She is also pressing the government for the phased removal of asbestos from schools over the next eleven years.
If you, or someone in your family, has been affected by an asbestos-related illness, there is support available. You can find out more about asbestos-related conditions here.