The diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease or cancer is devastating for the individual and their family members. Following diagnosis, one of the first things doctors may ask is where that person came into contact with asbestos.
As it can be between 20-50 years between initial exposure and developing an asbestos related condition, it can understandably be difficult for people to remember where it could have occurred.
That is why registering exposure to asbestos today could make a big difference.
With great sadness I read the news of a former scaffolder who died In September from malignant mesothelioma. Bolton Coroner’s Court heard that Alan Cooper, 52, had been exposed to asbestos throughout his working life, and also as a child from asbestos carried on his father’s dusty work clothes and equipment when he came home in the evenings.
Pathologist, Patrick Waugh, said: “This is one of the youngest cases that I have seen. People who commonly get this disease are people exposed in 1960s and 1970s when we didn’t know that asbestos was a problem.”
The symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, can take many years to manifest.
This tragic lack of awareness for the serious health risks meant that many people were exposed to asbestos and did not know their employers’ duties to protect them.
Asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999 because it was classified as a human carcinogen. This means that the substance causes cancer. Asbestos has been known to be hazardous since Roman times and the carcinogenic properties of asbestos have shockingly been known since the 1930s.
Mesothelioma is the cause of more than 2,000 deaths in the UK each year, according to Health and Safety Executive statistics.
The symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, can take many years to manifest. Because of this doctors are unable to make a diagnosis until it is possible to detect the symptoms, by which time the initial exposure to asbestos can be a distant memory.
If you should find yourself in pursuit of an asbestos compensation claim it will be necessary to recall as many incidents as possible when you may have been exposed to asbestos. For today’s victims this may be a challenging task, with specialist asbestos legal advice required in order to trace past employers or their insurers, given that a firm may no longer exist. However it is possible with the right legal advice and support to be successful in a claim.
If you think that you have exposed to asbestos, it is important that you report it today so that there is a record of this information for the future, if needed.
You can register any exposure to asbestos here.
Kim Harrison is a principal lawyer specialising in asbestos and mesothelioma claims at Slater and Gordon in Manchester.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have a specialist team of asbestos compensation solicitors that deal with asbestos claims on a no win no fee basis. For a free consultation call 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.