Could there be any circumstance where the lack of asbestos awareness to the fatal health risks of exposure and breathing in of the fibre dust particles be any more destructive to victims and their families?
Unfortunately, many mesothelioma compensation cases reach the courts where the victim contracted asbestos-related disease despite the apparent absence of contact with asbestos at the time. It’s often many years later in a victim’s retirement when possible evidence of the hidden presence of the deadly mineral would come to light.
Many workers who were employed in occupations completely unrelated to the use of asbestos are regularly reported with diagnosed mesothelioma cancer simply because they were unwittingly exposed to asbestos due to its’ presence in the fabric of a building.
A recent case concerns a retired male employee who worked in an ordinary London travel agents office but died of mesothelioma cancer 40 years later, aged only 64, simply because it is thought that exposure to the deadly building material might have occurred while clearing out a storage cupboard.
The long gestation period from first exposure and inhaling of the deadly fibre dust to the eventual appearance of mesothelioma or asbestosis symptoms is between 15 to 50 years. Asbestos particles permanently impaled within the linings of the lungs or abdomen eventually cause tissue cells and organs to become cancerous and the spread of the tumours tend to only be diagnosed at a late stage when survival rates are between 4 to 12 months at best.
It is well documented that many public buildings such as schools, hospitals and department stores were constructed or renovated up until the 1980s with the use of white asbestos insulation materials, which was only finally banned in 1998. But business, commercial and domestic premises were also constructed using asbestos during the same period. Half a million buildings around the UK are believed to still contain white chrysotile asbestos in the form of insulation board, surface coating, cement and roofing products.
For the many thousands of innocent men and women who worked in UK manufacturing plants and industrial and maritime engineering works, where asbestos was commonly used as an insulation material throughout much of the twentieth century, the appalling legacy of suffering left to them by falling victim to asbestosis disease and mesothelioma cancer continues to grow to this day.
Over 2,000 diagnosed cases of mesothelioma are recorded annually in the UK and the number of deaths has risen from 153 in 1968 to 2,249 in 2008. The number of asbestosis claim cases has more than doubled from 574 in 2007 to 1,164 in 2010. It is predicted that a further 45,000 mesothelioma deaths are to be expected by 2050.