Last night, fans of the BBC’s Inspector George Gently tuned in to the latest instalment in the detective’s saga: ‘Breathe in the Air.’ But as well as attempting to solve another case, Gently unearths an issue that all should be aware of: the hazards of exposure to asbestos, the corporate veil and secrecy and the effects of these on the innocent local resident. Spoiler alert!
The plot of the second episode in the seventh season follows Gently as he unravels the death of Dr Valerie Cullen whose body has been found in a remote location. In what appears an open and shut case of suicide, Gently takes a deeper look and finds the former GP once lived in an old industrial area. Detective work reveals linked health problems in the area surrounding an unused factory – something the late doctor had been looking into.
The Inspector meets an enemy in the form of a Swiss company that own the local factory that produced asbestos products, and whose lawyers are keen to cover up any accusation of a connection between the factory’s asbestos production and the illnesses of the residents in the surrounding area.
We’ll leave the episode’s plot and spoilers there, as what is relevant on a level that affects thousands of people and many industrial workers – both past and present. A very strong message was raised whilst George Gently solves his case: that of corporate entities and industrial firms ignoring the health and safety of people when it comes to exposure to asbestos.
70 activist organisations united in support of Global Asbestos Awareness last month. The week-long commemoration addressed the global epidemic of people’s exposure to asbestos, which kills around 100,000 workers around the world each year. In the UK following the Second World Was, industrial workers who were employed in factories, as depicted in Inspector George Gently, worked in close contact with asbestos dust without protective equipment.
Asbestos-related diseases include lung cancer like Mesothelioma, the symptoms of which can take forty years to develop in order for a doctor to diagnose the condition. Many victims exposed to asbestos therefore receive the news of their asbestos-related illness much later in life when they are least expecting it.
Pauline Chandler, Principal Lawyer for the Slater and Gordon Industrial Disease Group states,
“This program shows the type of cover-up by national and international companies that had for many years hidden behind the government and corporate veil about the risks of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. “
Take a quick look at our previous blog on Global Asbestos Awareness here.
If you or a family member have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease contact Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 884 0275 or contact us online.
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