Asbestos
Halt | January 8, 2023 | 0 Comments

Is Asbestos Still a Threat to Our Lives?

In 2017, the UK went through a health crisis whose effects are still felt: the mesothelioma crisis. Back then, over 2,500 people died from mesothelioma, a disease caused by exposure to asbestos. Courts all over the country were flooded with claims for mesothelioma compensation. At the time, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) believed that the crisis had peaked and things would start to improve. Have they?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. In 2020, the number of mesothelioma-related deaths was 2,544, highlighting that society still has a long way to create asbestos-free working and living environments. But how did we get to this point?

What you need to know about asbestos

Asbestos Threat

Asbestos is a toxic mineral found in construction materials such as cloth, paper, cement, auto parts, insulation and plastic. Its use was widely adopted in the 1960s due to its properties. Asbestos is an efficient insulator resistant to heat, electricity and corrosion. However, its inhalation can lead to inflammation, scarring and cancer.

Diseases caused by asbestos

Health authorities worldwide believe that mesothelioma is almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Many other diseases are caused by it, including asbestosis and lung, ovarian and laryngeal cancer. It can also lead to pleural effusions and plaques, pleuritis, diffuse pleural thickening and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). That is why the UK and many other countries have banned this mineral’s use. One important exception is the United States. It is the only developed country that has not entirely banned the carcinogen. As a result, asbestos inhalation causes roughly 40,000 deaths annually in the country.

Who is at higher risk of contracting mesothelioma?

While the use of asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999, several existing properties still contain the mineral. Additionally, asbestos can be illegally or accidentally imported.

Blue-collar professionals are at higher risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Secondhand asbestos exposure may occur if a person lives with a worker who handles asbestos products.

You are at high risk of developing mesothelioma if you work in the mining, construction, manufacturing and shipbuilding industries. Other dangerous occupations include electricity generation, heavy industry, military service, automotive repair, chloralkali production and building and equipment maintenance.

Asbestos Threat

That is not all. This list also includes many other industries, such as renovation and demolition, firefighting, sheet gasket use and oilfield brake block repair.

Asbestos handling safety tips

Your employer must use asbestos-free materials, especially if you work in one of the abovementioned industries. They also have to train you to avoid exposure to hazardous materials that can cause mesothelioma. Some of the industry’s best practices include sealing the work area with plastic sheets, turning off the air conditioning and wearing a respirator with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. Remember: the employer must provide the safety equipment, or the employee can claim mesothelioma compensation if contaminated.

It is also essential to use non-reusable coveralls and gloves when working with asbestos, utilise a pump sprayer to keep asbestos materials wet and minimise dust, and clean the work area with wet wipes or a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter.

Asbestos disposal must also follow specific practices, such as labelling bags containing the mineral and placing them in appropriate landfills.

Mesothelioma compensations help victims

All over the world, hundreds of thousands of patients and families have claimed mesothelioma compensation due to asbestos exposure. These compensations help cover medical bills and lost wages. The most common – and expensive – treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and palliative care. According to research conducted by Hutcheon Law, a British law firm specialising in several legal claim areas, some of the most high-profile cases include mesothelioma compensations of up to £643,000.

How long does it take to get mesothelioma compensation?

In theory, a trial can take years, but solicitors can work with both parties to reach a settlement within months. The duration of the process will depend on the specifics of each situation and the difficulty of collecting evidence.

There are two types of mesothelioma lawsuits: personal injury claims and wrongful death claims.

Asbestos Threat

Personal injury claims are filed by individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma pursuing compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages and other costs. Wrongful death claims are typically filed by the beneficiary of someone who died of mesothelioma.

Are we over the dangers of asbestos?

Clearly not. Despite being banned in the UK in 1999, asbestos is still found in old constructions and materials. Employers have the duty to protect their workers from this hazardous material. Failing to do so may lead to the payment of mesothelioma compensation.

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