Common asbestos myths busted

Once called a miracle material for its heat and fire resistance, asbestos was commonly used from the 19th century up until the year 1999 in residential, commercial and public buildings.  However, once it was found to cause cancer and other illnesses, the use of asbestos declined until eventually it was banned.  Although it is now common knowledge that the substance is toxic, there are still many myths that abound.  In this blog, we sort out fact from fiction and help to bust some common asbestos myths.

Myth:  A small amount of asbestos is harmless

Fact:  There is no official safe level of asbestos exposure.  Whilst the risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease rises with the level of exposure, even occasional, low doses can still be potentially dangerous.

Myth:  You can recognise asbestos just by looking at it

Fact:  It can be difficult to recognise asbestos.  The material has been used in millions of products over the years and can take many forms.  This means that asbestos can be difficult to identify without laboratory testing.

Myth:  As long as you wear a mask, you can remove asbestos yourself

Fact:  Removing asbestos is a dangerous job and should only be done by certified professionals who have the proper training, equipment and processes to do so safely.

Myth:  If you have not worked directly with asbestos, you are not at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease

Fact:  It is possible to be at risk of an asbestos-related disease even if you have not worked directly with asbestos.  Relatives of those who were regularly exposed to asbestos through their work can be at risk of second-hand exposure.  There are many examples of women who have died from being exposed to asbestos when washing their husbands’ work clothes.  We have brought successful claims on behalf of women who have been harmed in this way.

Myth:  You will get asbestos-related disease symptoms soon after exposure

Fact:  It can take decades for the symptoms of an asbestos-related disease to arise.  Detection of such diseases can sometimes take up to 40 years after the exposure occurred.  Occasionally, an asbestos-related disease is not even diagnosed until after the sufferer has died.

Myth:  Mesothelioma can only be caused by asbestos

Fact:  While mesothelioma can occur due to asbestos exposure and it is considered the main cause of this type of cancer, it is also possible to develop certain types of mesothelioma after being exposed to radiation from a chemical called thorium dioxide, which was used in some x-ray tests in the 1950s.  Other chemicals that have been shown to cause mesothelioma include a mineral called erionite and those who work with paint have been linked with an increased risk, possibly due to chemicals in the paint.

If you, or a member of your family, have suffered from an asbestos-related disease, it may be possible to claim compensation.  Contact Dedicated Accident Solicitors today.  For more information on our previous cases, take a look at our testimonials page.