What is Asbestos?

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What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that because of its fire and chemical resistant qualities has seen widespread use as a building material since the 1950s.

The three main types of asbestos are ‘crocidolite’ (blue asbestos); ‘amosite’ (brown asbestos); and ‘chrysotile’ (white asbestos). Both blue and brown asbestos are strongly linked with mesothelioma and were banned from the late 1980s. After white asbestos was also found to be harmful, the use of all asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999.

In the years following the Second World War, before the dangers of the material were fully understood, asbestos was widely used within the construction, ship-building and motor industries as well as within power stations, telephone exchanges and the manufacture of household appliances.

As asbestos was frequently incorporated with other materials, it is often difficult identifying the material. However, most buildings built before the year 2000 are likely to contain some asbestos as it was so commonly used in floor and ceiling tiles, boilers, thermal pipe lagging, asbestos insulating board, and sprayed coatings such as the kind used around structural supports as fire protection.

When materials containing asbestos deteriorate with age or are damaged as a result of drilling, sawing, sanding or scrubbing, microscopic asbestos fibres are released into the air. If these fibres are then inhaled, they become embedded deep in the lungs where they can remain for decades, causing permanent damage to the cells and surrounding tissue.

Resulting industrial disease symptoms can take between 15 and 60 years to develop before a diagnosis is possible. This is why there has been such an increase in cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers in recent years particularly amongst workers who were previously employed as carpenters, boilermakers, electricians, shipbuilders and plumbers.

Removing asbestos is a dangerous job and must be carried out by trained and licensed professionals. If your job involves working with asbestos, the law requires licensing, specific training, protective equipment and monitoring.

If you think that you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past, or lived with someone who used to work with the material, it is important to tell your GP.

If you have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer, the immediate priority is to ensure appropriate financial support, together with any physical, emotional or practical help you might also need. Fentons Solicitors has a specialist team that understands this and is dedicated to pursuing compensation claims on behalf of victims who have become ill through exposure to asbestos at work.

As leading experts in our field, the Industrial Disease team at Fentons is able to draw on many years’ experience and specialised knowledge to help guide you and your family through the complex process of making an asbestos claim, fighting for compensation following a diagnosis of mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer.

We care not only about maximising the level of compensation you should receive, but also about how best to meet your future needs beyond just a sum of money.

As a national firm, our clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestos-related lung cancer come from across the country. We aim to visit clients immediately, to ensure the best individual advice is given clearly and concisely, enabling you to make an informed decision about your case.

For further information about our services or for a free, no obligation discussion, call our freephone helpline on 0800 019 1297, or complete the brief industrial disease claim form.