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Asbestos: The Dangers Faced by Our Emergency Services

Amidst the considerable risks in the line of duty of the UK’s emergency services, beneath the threat of flames and smoke, exposure to asbestos is as great a danger when saving lives.

There are many vivid dangers faced by our emergency services on a daily basis. UK firefighters in particular are called out to perform a service that potentially places them in harm’s way whilst protecting and serving others.

Recently, on Saturday 27th June, emergency services were called to an address in Park Road, South Moor, where a fire had broken out in a “lean to” building behind the terraced property. The roof of the structure consisted of corrugated cement boarding that contained white asbestos. In minimising exposure to the asbestos, the fire was “dampened down” before requesting the immediate assistance of the emergency services. The incident was reportedly of “low-level risk” – something fortunate for many beyond the owner of the shed.

Many people are not aware of the terrible and high-risk dangers of exposure to asbestos. The carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties of asbestos dust and fibres make it a leading cause of lung cancers, including mesothelioma.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of mesothelial tissue, which cover the lungs. This type of cancer typically develops in the lungs or abdomen, and is mostly associated with exposure to asbestos. Read more on the causes of mesothelioma.

Previously, we have blogged on the findings of a new report from the World Health Organization outlining the fact that one third of the 900 million people employed throughout Europe face the risk of developing the disease through exposure to asbestos. For more information, read here.

Asbestos in Your Home

It is not uncommon for there to be asbestos in your home. It was widely used in commercial buildings until 1999, so if your house was built before then, your house may contain asbestos. It is often the case that asbestos fibres lie docile behind walls and so becomes a hazard when disturbed.

The aforementioned incident in which emergency services faced an asbestos contamination when called to tackle a fire would be an example – albeit rather extreme – of the potentially fatal hornet’s nest of accidentally unearthing asbestos that you may not have been aware of. An everyday situation of the same potential risks is in home renovations. Perhaps you have some DIY in mind this weekend and, without knowing, drive a sledgehammer into an attic wall to find a cloud of white dust rises from the hole. In avoiding this terrifying situation, you should first consult specialists to survey the property before carrying out any risky renovations. In the event asbestos is discovered on your property it is essential that you contact specialists to correctly remove and dispose of the asbestos to minimise the risk of exposure.

For more information on home renovations and the safe removal of asbestos, read our previous blog here.

David Thompson is a Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Newcastle.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers can pursue compensation claims for people that have been exposed to asbestos at work.

If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos at work call the expert Personal Injury Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers on 0800 844 0275 or contact us online.

Have a question about asbestos? Feel free to write it in the comments below.

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