A Barking and Dagenham based asbestos support Group is calling on former workers and residents from the Barking and Dagenham area to get in touch. Barking and Dagenham Asbestos Support Group is appealing to anyone who worked in or lived near industries where asbestos was often present to come forward.

The Group will make the call at a relaunch event at Barking Town Hall on the 27th February, which is National Mesothelioma Day, starting at 2pm. There will be guest speakers at the relaunch including a mesothelioma victim, a medical expert, someone to advise about entitlement to benefits, and Jon Cruddas MP.

The Group plans to build a record of individuals who believe they may have been exposed to the lethal dust through their work in industries in the Barking and Dagenham area or who lived near to factories in Barking where asbestos was regularly used and being allowed to escape into the air.

This will enable the Group to offer support and practical advice to individuals who have been affected by asbestos. It will also provide an invaluable database of information that can help to speed up the process of compensation claims for people who become ill due to asbestos exposure.

There are high numbers of people suffering from asbestos related diseases in the Barking area

A spokesperson from the Group, Mick Connolly said: “Barking and the surrounding areas has a terrible asbestos legacy. There was the Cape factory, the power station, construction and other heavy industries. As a result, the area sees high numbers of people suffering from asbestos related diseases”.

“Many former workers and residents in this area have moved away. Some will have retired to the coast. They may not have given their possible exposure to asbestos a thought since and, hopefully, they will not get ill. We hope though that people will get in touch, whether or not they are ill, because we need as much information as possible about where the asbestos was.

“These industries and workplaces failed to warn their workers of the dangers of asbestos, even though it was well known at the time. It is particularly shocking and tragic that some of the victims will be people who as children played with the asbestos dust at the Cape factory, or were exposed to dust on the clothing of their fathers and grandfathers. Diseases such as mesothelioma, the asbestos cancer, can take decades to develop.”

For further information, call Mick Connolly on 020 8554 5192 or e-mail at mick.connolly45@btinternet.com