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Coalition Government to Bring Back ‘Hidden Killers’ Adverts

Adverts warning of the dangers of asbestos are to be reintroduced in the UK after they were discontinued last January. Due to Government cuts, the ‘Hidden Killers’ ad campaign was dropped under the Tory-led Government, despite outcry from the public, health experts and a number of charitable organisations.

The advert, launched in 2008 by the Executive and Safety Executive, along with communications agency MS&L, aimed to warn of the risks posed to workers in the construction industry when dealing with asbestos. Around 20 tradesmen die each week in the UK as a result of asbestos-related illnesses and the ad campaign aimed at preventing another generation from suffering from the affects of asbestos exposure. The campaign was so successful that the relevant pages on the HSE site experienced six times as many visitors.

The campaign received a great deal of recognition across Europa and was awarded a European Excellence Award and was shortlisted for a number of other awards. However, the plug was pulled on the campaign in 2008 amidst a number of Government cuts.

Since the advert was dropped, builders’ union Ucatt, along with MPs and various other campaigns have prompted the HSE to reinstate the campaign because of the very real dangers associated with asbestos. Ucatt leader, Guy George, stated: “A fresh phase of the campaign is long overdue. It saves lives.”

Mesothelioma is a huge problem in the UK and asbestos-related illnesses are the biggest workplace killer. As such, the Government must do everything in its power to warn people of the dangers that exist.

Northern Ireland pleural Plaques Legislation Reversed

mesotheliomaAs of December 14th, people in Northern Ireland who suffer from asbestos-related pleural plaques will be able to make compensation claims, according to new legislation. In 2007 the House of Lords ruled that victims of asbestos-related pleural plaques would not be able to seek compensation, and the reversal of this ruling is much welcomed by the people of Northern Ireland.

Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, has set aside £2.5million for the claims that are expected, following the legislation. It is estimated that victims of the condition could be compensated up to £15,000.

Although pleural plaques is largely symptomless, it can develop into more serious conditions such as mesothelioma, which can have fatal consequences. As such, the government has recognised the importance of compensating people for their suffering.

Illegal asbestos disposal huge problem in UK

Today in the UK the illegal dumping of asbestos is a huge problem. There are several cases each year where asbestos substances are fly-tipped in a bid to avoid having to pay for the proper disposal of the potentially deadly substance.

Just this week, there was a case in Leicester where a substantial amount of broken up asbestos sheets, wrapped up in plastic bags were found dumped on a residential sheet. It goes without saying that this is extremely dangerous, irresponsible and extremely harmful to human life.

There are a number of extremely strict guidelines that must be followed when disposing of asbestos. In addition, it can be costly to get rid of asbestos legally because it is so dangerous; hence lots of people chose to dispose of it illegally. If asbestos is found in a building, it must be removed professionally.

Because the asbestos has been removed from a structure and, in this case, broken up into smaller pieces, the chances are that the asbestos would be dangerous because it had been disturbed. The harmful fibres could become airborne and inhaled, which is when asbestos can be harmful to health.

The law takes these cases extremely seriously and there has been a clamp down in recent years, with substantial sentences imposed on anyone found to be taking part in the illegal disposing of asbestos.

If you’ve been affected by an asbestos related illness due to illegal fly-tipping, you could be eligible to make an asbestos claim. Find out more today.

How long will an asbestos claim take?

Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time that it takes for an asbestos claim to be completed. From application to settlement can take anything from a few months to in excess of a year, depending on the details of the case. There are many factors that will determine how long a claim will take.

The type of illness in question will play a big part in determining how long a claim will take. Generally, the more serious the illness, the quicker the claim process will be.

With mesothelioma claims, which is perhaps the most aggressive of the asbestos-related illnesses, there are special court procedures that can be used in order to speed up the whole process. In these cases, you can generally expect to have your case to court within 6 months of your application.

It is often said that judges are sympathetic to people who have contracted such serious illnesses and do everything in their power to have the case heard before a court as soon as possible.

Depending on the strength of your case and the availability of evidence, you can rest assured that EB Legal will ensure that the whole process is as hassle-free and speedy as possible. Get in touch today and start your asbestos claim.

What occupations carry the risk of asbestos exposure?

Asbestos is dangerous to humans when the small fibres that make this hazardous material become airborne. There are several occupations that carry the risk of exposure to asbestos, even today.

Asbestos exposure often results in one of two conditions; mesothelioma or lung cancer. The former is an extremely aggressive form of cancer that can take a substantial amount of time to surface after exposure – in some cases, longer than 50 years.

Although asbestos is now banned from being used in the construction of new buildings, the risk of exposure still exists from buildings that were built before the substance was outlawed. Many cases of asbestos-related illnesses that are seen today are the result of asbestos exposure in the workplace.

Because asbestos can take decades to manifest, people that had occupations that could have exposed them to asbestos between the 1940s and 1970s could still be at risk today. Asbestos was extremely popular in the construction industry, meaning that anyone working in the industry during that time could be at risk.

Asbestos was already used in car breaks at around the same time that it was popular in construction. As such, auto mechanics could also be at risk. Rescue workers are also at risk of being exposed to asbestos, in particular fire fighters. When buildings are destroyed, asbestos can be disturbed and this is when the fibres can become airborne. Without the proper safety equipment and without treating protective clothing properly after the event, fire fighters could be at risk of inhaling the fibres.

What level of asbestos exposure is dangerous?

The fact of the matter is that there are no real scientific findings as to whether there is a threshold of which exposure to asbestos poses no risk to a person of contracting mesothelioma or any other asbestos related illness. Although there has been a great deal of research over the years, there has been no conclusive evidence as a result.

However, it is widely recognised that if there was a threshold, it would be relatively insignificant, in that even low-level exposure can result in a person contracting mesothelioma or other respiratory illnesses.

When analysing what level of exposure is harmful to health, the type of asbestos must be taken into consideration. In the scientific world, it is relatively conclusive that smaller doses of blue and brown asbestos can cause significant detriment to a person’s health, whereas larger doses of white asbestos are needed to cause the same amount of harm.

It is advisable that if you think you have been exposed to asbestos, however severe the exposure may be, that you contact your local GP and arrange for an examination to detect any respiratory problems as early as possible.

What is Asbestos and Where Does it Come From?

Many of us have heard of asbestos and understand that it is an extremely dangerous material that can cause various respiratory diseases. Yet, very few of us actually know what asbestos is and where it comes from.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that actually consists of six main minerals. The fibres are long, thin and can be easily separated from one another, meaning that they can easily become airborne, which is when they can be inhaled and cause damage to the lungs and other inner organs.

The minerals that make up asbestos have certain properties that make them perfect for use in construction (heat resistance, chemical resistance, strong and flexible). There are several countries in which asbestos minerals have been excavated, including China, Canada, USA and Russia and derives from metamorphic rocks.

The word ‘asbestos’ derives from Latin and can be translated as ‘not extinguishable’. The minerals are generally found underground and the most common method of obtaining it is by open-pit mining. Of the mined ores, only 6% contains usable fibres. Through repeated suction and crushing, the useful fibres can be separated form the ore. The remaining fibres can then be moulded or woven into various types of fabric.

There are two main classes of asbestos, the amphiboles and the serpentines. Chrysotile, from the serpentine class, accounts for 95% of the world’s supply of asbestos.

What is asbestosis?

Asbestosis is another serious health defect caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. Mesothelioma can occur in people after contact with asbestos for any amount of time, whereas asbestosis is more commonly found in people who have been in contact with asbestos for a long period of time.

Asbestosis is often referred to as a ‘chronic inflammatory disease’ and is caused by the scarring of the lung tissue from the inhalation of the fibres. The main symptom of asbestosis is severe shortness of breath after periods of exertion. This shortness of breath can continue long after the period of exertion and can be extremely painful. The effects of asbestosis can take several years to materialise; decades can pass in some cases.

The symptoms of asbestosis often get progressively worse over time and the shortness of breath can even result in heart failure in some cases, due to the lack of oxygen in the body. Shortness of breath occurs because of the inflammation and scarring on the lining of the lungs. This damage to the tissue means that the surface area on which the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place is drastically reduced. This exchange of gases is essential for efficient breathing. The asbestos fibres that are inhaled lodge deep into the lungs and the body’s natural defences kick in and inflammation occurs.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for asbestosis, yet there are a number of treatments that help to manage the effects. One effective method of relieving shortness of breath is to use oxygen treatment. This allows the body to intake more oxygen particles per breath than would be inhaled in regular air. Nebulizers are commonly used, much in the way that asthma sufferers use them to allow breathing with greater ease.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is found either in the lungs or the abdominal region. Most of the body’s internal organs are covered by a lining known as the mesothelium and it is the cells that form this lining that are affected by mesothelioma. The mesothelium covers and protects the heart, lungs and various other organs and damage to this protective layer can obviously have extreme consequences.

Most cases of mesothelioma (around 70%) are found in the chest and is commonly referred to as ‘pleural mesothelioma’. This form of cancer is particularly aggressive and is generally resistant to many forms of cancer treatment.

In many cases, mesothelioma will go undetected for months, even years. Detection occurs when symptoms start to interfere with the patient’s every day lives. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include chest pains and shortness of breath. The condition can be extremely uncomfortable and can restrict every day tasks.

In fewer cases, mesothelioma can affect the abdominal region. In this type of mesothelioma, affects the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdominal cavity. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include abdominal swelling, anemia, fevers, bowel obstruction and nausea.

Although there is no known cure for mesothelioma as of yet, there are several treatments that are used in order to battle the disease and ease the symptoms. Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, multimodal therapy and alternative treatments can all be carried out, depending on the case. In some cases, surgery can be considered and there are constantly new treatments being trialled. As with any disease, the earlier it is detected, the better the prognosis will be.

If you’ve been affected by mesothelioma, find out more about making mesothelioma claims with EB Legal.