For many decades the dangers of the use and subsequent exposure to asbestos was not noticed in the UK. Once the health-risks became known, legislative measures were gradually brought in to control it, until finally the use of this asbestos was banned completely in 1999.
Over 4,000 people die from asbestos-related diseases every year, making asbestos exposure one of the most significant occupational health risks in the UK today.
As many as 20 trades people a week could be dying from asbestos damage to their lungs
Asbestos exposure can cause the following fatal diseases:
Pleural Plaques are by far the most common indication of significant exposure to asbestos. Characterised by areas of fibrous thickening on the lining of the lungs (pleura) or diaphragm, the condition typically arises 20 to 30 years after asbestos exposure.
Also known as diffuse pleural thickening (DPT), is a lung disease in which extensive scarring thickens the pleura, the thin membrane that covers the lungs. As the scar tissue grows, it can encase the lung and close off the space between the lungs and pleura
Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory and scarring disease affecting the tissue of the lungs. People with the condition may experience severe shortness of breath and are at an increased risk for certain cancers, including lung cancer and, less commonly, mesothelioma. Asbestosis specifically refers to fibrosis within the lung tissue from asbestos, and not scarring around the outside of the lungs. It is caused by the breathing in and retention of asbestos fibres. It usually occurs after high intensity and/or long-term exposure to asbestos.
Asbestos lodged in lung tissue causes lung cancer. The body trys to naturally break down the asbestos fibre but as the fibre is resistant this process causes a formation of a tumour.
Mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive form of cancer that primarily develops in the lining of the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma). Caused by asbestos, mesothelioma has no known cure and has a poor prognosis.
Asbestos is a natural mineral and because of natural systems ie: weathering of primary rocks containing asbestos minerals globally asbestos is always going to be present within the environment.
Increased exposure to asbestos fibres will increase the risk of getting an asbestos related disease.