A great adjective when applied to, for instance, the spirit of the Cornish Pirates Rugby Team, but of less attraction when one discovers that the word asbestos is derived from the Greek for ‘unquenchable’, a word that certainly describes the pernicious and lasting material which is known as asbestos.The black shadow of death and that asbestos may eventually bring to up to half a million Europeans is out of all proportion to the use of asbestos 6,000 years ago when the ancient Egyptians used its heat proof qualities to create wicks for lamps and candles. Even the embalmed bodies of Pharaohs between 200-300 BC were wrapped with asbestos cloth. However, for many tears it has been known that asbestos is extremely toxic to the human body. The material has had an overwhelming impact on the health and lives of millions of people worldwide and in particular, on families in Cornwall and England as a whole.Take for instance the experience of a family who following a family tragedy had moved from the London area into Cornwall. For 2 years they lived in Cornwall very happily but then Bill developed a cough. At first it was thought that he might be suffering from bronchitis but all too soon, following further investigations, he was diagnosed in his mid 50s as suffering from the asbestos cancer, mesothelioma. Sadly, Bill and his family did not have an opportunity of enjoying their lives in Cornwall for very long at all because Bill succumbed to the mesothelioma and died 6 months after diagnosis. This type of experience is all too familiar to families in Cornwall. There are several different diseases caused by asbestos, some of which like  mesothelioma are invariably fatal, others which lead to considerable difficulty with breathing.The use of asbestos and asbestos products infiltrated into many trades and processes. The first cases to appear involved miners and millers of the asbestos rock from which asbestos is derived. However, since then cases have arisen from those involved as asbestos workers in factories, cement production transport, building industry workers and engineers including plumbers, gas fitters and carpenters and electricians, workers in the shipping industry particularly ship building and ship repair, railway workers, power station workers, motor mechanics, hospital employees and on occasions other general factory workers. Asbestos is so pernicious that it can cause people who have only been exposed to it on a secondary basis to develop asbestos related conditions.People working nearby to workers using asbestos products can develop asbestos conditions. Relatives and neighbours are also at risk from, for instance washing a family member’s overalls when that family member has been exposed to asbestos at work.The last thing a family will be considering once these shocking events unfold is whether or not a claim may be made at law. However, it is important that sufferers and the family know that they are being advised by a dedicated team of lawyers who have been dealing with asbestos related cases throughout Cornwall and the West Country for many years, and who strive to deal with cases in a holistic and compassionate manner and most importantly who look after your best interests.For further details or advice please contact John Messham, Specialist Respiratory Disease Lawyer, Wolferstans on 01752 292209 or jmessham@wolferstans.com

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