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Asbestos was known as the "magic mineral". It was used for many industrial purposes and many people in the 1900's used it within their employment. It wasn't until the mid 1970's that the dangers of asbestos became generally recognised and action was taken. The individual asbestos fibres can not be seen by the naked eye, nor a normal microscope and when inhaled or ingested, the tiny indestructible fibres lodge inside the body and can not be removed by the body in the normal way. These particles remain latent in the areas and it is often the case that asbestos related diseases do not manifest until decades later.
All types of asbestos can cause disease. Blue and brown asbestos were known to be the most dangerous but white asbestos can cause disease also.
People who regularly came across asbestos as part of their job were:
- Thermal insulation engineers
- Ship yard workers
- Asbestos manufacturing workers
- Women who assembled gas masks during the war
- Building workers
- Gas fitters
- Painters and decorators
Asbestosis is a gradually progressive condition. In the early stages there may be no symptoms at all and there are no characteristic symptoms of the disease. As the industrial disease progresses, the asbestosis claims victim would generally find that there is more breathlessness and coughing which they may have initially attributed to smoking if this has been one of their past times.
Investigations as to whether asbestosis is the illness can be by way of chest X-ray, lung function test or CT or MRI Scan.
Whether an asbestosis claim is successful will depend on the extent of exposure to asbestos dust. It would also be necessary to pursue an industrial disease compensation claim against all parties exposing the victim to asbestos. It requires specialist knowledge to be able to trace the insurance companies of employers where the company has ceased trading and because of this, legal advice should be sought as soon as the diagnosis is made.
Benefits are available for sufferers of asbestosis and your industrial disease solicitor will be able to provide information about these.
Workers who were exposed to asbestos have an increased risk of lung cancer where there has been significant exposure. There is also evidence that where those exposed to asbestos have also had exposure to cigarette smoking then the combined risk is not merely additive but multiplicative.
There is no way of distinguishing, either clinically or pathologically between lung cancer caused by asbestos and lung cancer caused by smoking and specialist legal advice will be necessary in order to obtain the correct medical evidence in order to prove your claim and that the lung cancer was caused by asbestos.
Where lung cancer is proven to be caused by industrial exposure to asbestos benefits may be awarded such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
How can Fentons help?
If you think you have a case for compensation, or require further assistance with a asbestosis claim or any other industrial disease claim, why not call our freephone helpline on 0800 019 1297, alternatively fill in the brief industrial disease claim form.
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