Fentons urges asbestos education in run-up to Action Mesothelioma Day

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Fentons urges asbestos education in run-up to Action Mesothelioma Day

27th June 2011

A leading industrial disease expert has stressed the importance of asbestos education in the week leading up to Action Mesothelioma Day.

Action Mesothelioma Day - due to take place on Friday 1 July - is an annual event held to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos. As in previous years, events will be staged around the country to highlight the support and guidance provided to the more then 2,000 men and women who are diagnosed annually with mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases.

Bridget Collier, head of the Industrial Disease team at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said: “The work that Action Mesothelioma Day does in highlighting the concern and support available to those suffering as a result of having been exposed to asbestos either at home or in the workplace is incredibly important. Asbestos remains the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK claiming nearly 40 lives to asbestos-related diseases and lung-related cancers every week.

“Mesothelioma is a horribly painful and particularly aggressive terminal lung cancer that is directly associated with asbestos exposure and inevitably has a devastating impact on victims' families," added Bridget, a partner with the firm. “Mesothelioma cases continue to rise in the UK with 2450 deaths per annum and a 50 per cent increase each year. There is no known cure for mesothelioma and traditional chemotherapeutic cancer treatments have had little impact on the disease.”

Each year, key groups and organisations from the medical, legal and caring professions attend Action Mesothelioma Day. Events are held in former industrial regions where asbestos was once used extensively in factories for the construction, manufacturing and engineering sectors throughout much of the last century.

As it did last year, The British Lung Foundation’s annual campaign which culminates each year on Action Mesothelioma Day, will seek to improve the treatment and care of those suffering with asbestos-related diseases by raising awareness and again highlighting the dangers of even low-level asbestos exposure in the home and workplace.

“Asbestos was widely used for fireproofing and insulation up until ten years ago and can still be found in many buildings built or refurbished before 2000,” said Bridget. "The terrible legacy of our widespread use of asbestos in decades past continues to claim thousands of lives each year. Many of us are worryingly unaware of the continuing threat asbestos presents, believing the material no longer poses a threat as it is no longer used in building materials. Sadly, this is untrue.

“When carrying out home improvements, people must understand that asbestos is not a thing of the past and is still present in many homes today,” added Bridget. “The fact that asbestos was still used in building materials only ten years ago means there is every chance that trades-people or those carrying out DIY could be exposed.”

Reinforcing the message of last years Mesothelioma Day, the British Lung Foundation plans to mount a media campaign to be themed as ‘Be Asbestos Aware’ targeting anyone who is considering carrying out DIY in their home. Many houses and other properties which were built up until at least the 1980s are likely to contain building materials made from white chrysotile asbestos. This can be found in asbestos insulation board (AIB) as well as asbestos plaster mouldings used in roof tiles and packing material.

“Although white asbestos is less harmful than other forms, it only remains so as long as it is left undisturbed,” said Bridget. “If it is unexpectedly discovered during DIY renovations, any attempt to sand or smooth it down, drill into or remove will risk causing the deadly asbestos fibre dust to be released into the surrounding air to be breathed in, days or even weeks later.

“Asbestos education should always be encouraged,” added Bridget. “Typically, with diseases such as mesothelioma, symptoms do not appear until up to 40 years after exposure with post-diagnosis life expectancy given between 12-18 months. We represent many victims and their families who have been devastated by illnesses of this kind. Any effort to highlight and educate people about the potential dangers of asbestos in their homes as well as public buildings and schools should be very much welcomed.”

How can Fentons help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of industrial diseases including asbestos-related lung cancer and mesothelioma.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.