20 Years Since Asbestos Was Banned In Britain
Asbestos was a major commercial material during the industrial revolution in the UK, however it did not become banned from use until 1999. We have therefore not had any asbestos imported or used in this country for over 20 years but what affect has this had on the health of people in the UK previously exposed to asbestos.
Britain sadly has the highest asbestos related condition and mortality rates in the world. The mesothelioma mortality rates have increased by 887% since the early 1970s when we began to stop importing different types of asbestos.
There are several reasons why it is incredibly hard to ascertain the numbers of people which have these problems mainly because it is very hard to identify some asbestos related diseases when there has been a background of other health complaints and it is also impossible to distinguish asbestos related lung cancers from other types of lung cancer without detailed investigation.
In the South West of England over the last 2 decades some sectors have been more affected than others. These have included metal plate workers, constructions workers, plumbers, electricians and carpenters as well as significant proportion of the local population who worked in the dockyard.
We are also aware now that more women are being diagnosed with asbestos related diseases than previously as many of them had worked in public buildings such as hospitals which would have contained asbestos or were exposed by the asbestos fibres being brought into the family home on their partner’s clothing after working with the mineral all day.
It has been noted that the failure to recognise and compensate thousands of individuals within this country which are suffering from asbestos related conditions and lung cancers has been labelled a national disgrace.
Now that we are 20 years on from the point when chrysotile asbestos was banned in the UK, we now have much more information about these conditions. Awareness has been raised by many various local charity organisations and support groups and this awareness has assisted people who would have otherwise ignored the fact that they were exposed to asbestos. As a result, it has assisted them in seeking medical advice and correctly advising the doctor as to potential causes of their condition.
There is currently a great amount of research being invested into the area of mesothelioma which is a terminal asbestos related condition. Medical experts hope that one day mesothelioma will be an acute treatable condition as opposed to a fatal disease however it is important that the charities supporting these causes are supported in order to raise funds to assist with the development of these treatments.
In 1999 when asbestos was first banned the lifespan for a mesothelioma patient was measured in months however 20 years later somebody diagnosed with mesothelioma lives far longer with some people living over 10 years past the date of diagnosis.
It is clear that improvements have been made in the field of asbestos related conditions however it is also clear that there is much more work to do. At Wolferstans, Solicitors we are still supporting the local charitable organisations and support groups for people investigating into these conditions.
If you have ever worked with asbestos or are aware of anybody that has come into contact with asbestos and has developed an asbestos related condition then please contact the specialist asbestos team at Wolferstans, Solicitors who have over 20 years of experience in this field who can provide free initial advice and consultations and advise you as to the best route of action for your claim.