According to the latest statistics, around 20 tradesmen die on a weekly basis as a result of exposure to asbestos, and yet most people wrongly think that asbestos is a problem of the past, not the present.

It is therefore so important to protect yourself if you come into contact with asbestos. This will ensure that any asbestos fibres and dust that are released into the atmosphere are not subsequently inhaled, where possible. Recognising asbestos before it is disturbed is important.

What colour is asbestos?

Asbestos is commonly recognised by its colour, namely blue, brown and white. Its official names are Crocidolite, Amosite and Chrysotile. The importation of Crocidolite and Amosite was banned in 1972 and 1980 respectively.

How could exposure occur?

If asbestos materials are disturbed or damaged then there is a risk from that exposure.  There are no safe levels of exposure to asbestos.

Where would I find asbestos?

Buildings constructed prior to 2000 contain asbestos. Importation and use of new asbestos insulation was gradually phased out and banned by 1982. Asbestos is most often associated with tradespeople, shipbuilders and those in other manual labour roles, particularly those who worked in those industries before 1999 when the ban was introduced. However, asbestos lurks in buildings across the UK, including in schools and hospitals, often undetected. This is often known about but chosen to be ignored. Its presence can cause a number of asbestos-related diseases, which will not become apparent until many years after the exposure occurs.

What are the asbestos materials?

Asbestos-based materials were widely used for things like ceiling and floor tiles, textured coatings, asbestos insulating boards (AIB), and also fire protection, soundproofing and partitioning. Asbestos lagging was also used as thermal insulation on pipes and boilers. Asbestos insulation on pipework is often painted, making it more difficult to identify the asbestos lagging. AIB can also be found in soffits, panels below windows and lining lift shafts. It can be difficult to distinguish the difference between an AIB and a non-asbestos wall panel board so take as much care as possible.

If I am exposed, will I develop a condition?

Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will develop an asbestos-related condition.  If fibres are inhaled or ingested then symptoms usually, but not always, occur around 20 years or more after exposure.

What are the conditions?

What are the symptoms of an asbestos-related disease?

Symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent dry cough, chest pain or tightness in your chest. Other symptoms can include weight loss and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms and have worked in an environment where asbestos may have been present, you should seek medical and legal advice.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding possible exposure to asbestos in the past, or if you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, please get in touch. Having independent, expert advice from a specialist solicitor can make all the difference when seeking to trace those responsible for exposing workers to asbestos.

Employers and insurance companies want to hide their track record of exposing workers – and those around them – from the history books. But at Thompsons, we know that for thousands of families every year, forgetting about asbestos is not an option. Our #PastButPresent campaign aims to give a voice to sufferers, their families, communities and industries that continue to be affected by asbestos-related diseases, ensuring their stories from the past remain at the fore in the present.

If you’d like free, no obligation advice, please contact Louise Larkin of Thompsons Solicitors on 0151 224 1644 or by email at Louise lives and works in Liverpool and has dealt with asbestos-related claims on behalf of the victims and their families for over 25 years. Louise and a team of expert colleagues are relentless in their pursuit of compensation claims against employers and insurance companies for clients who suffer from mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening, securing millions of pounds in compensation on their behalf every year.

If you choose to work with us, Thompsons Solicitors will support you through every step of your asbestos compensation claim, providing expert legal advice as well as access to a network of support services and medical professionals.