Asbestos was first used in the industry because of its fire retardant, insulating and corrosion protecting properties. Eventually people began to link the use of asbestos with a number of diseases. Some of them, like Mesothelioma, are fatal.
Asbestos occurs naturally in the environment and this very low level exposure will not cause illness. It is when someone is exposed to a high level of asbestos fibres that diseases such as Mesothelioma occur.
It is now recognised that continuous exposure to high levels of asbestos fibres, either at work or in the home, does indeed have health dangers associated with it and many people who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease are able to claim asbestos compensation.
There are three main kinds of asbestos fibres:
- Chrysotile - white
- Crocidolite - blue
- Amosite - brown
It is the thin fibres of these types of asbestos that are inhaled when disturbed and work their way into the body.
Many people were exposed to asbestos fibres through working for more than one employer. Equally, the Courts have held that it may be impossible to identify which exposure, and therefore which employer, has caused the victim's illness. However, if we can prove that exposure to asbestos increased the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, a claim can be pursued against any of the employers who failed in their duty of care.
Luckily not everyone who was exposed to asbestos will become ill, indeed the majority will suffer no adverse effects at all. However, there are a number of diseases that can occur pleural plaques, pleural thickening, asbestosis, lung cancer and Mesothelioma.