Asbestosis is caused by fibres of asbestos inhaled by those that are exposed to the mineral. The amount of asbestos a worker has been exposed to will depend upon a number of factors including, duration of exposure, fibre concentration in the air and their breathing rate.
Common examples of people that have been or that currently are in contact with asbestos are electricians, Plumbers and roofers. Prolonged exposure to the mineral is known to be capable of causing several types of disease including Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer.
Asbestos is the name for a group of naturally occurring silicate minerals that can be separated into fibers. The fibers are strong, durable, and resistant to heat and fire. They are also long, thin and flexible, so that they can even be woven into cloth.
Because of these qualities, asbestos has been used in thousands of consumer, industrial, maritime, automotive, scientific and building products. During the twentieth century, many millions tons of asbestos were used in industrial sites, homes, schools, shipyards and commercial buildings in the UK and Ireland.
There are several types of asbestos fibers, of which three have been used for commercial applications:
Amosite and crocidolite are called amphiboles. This term refers to the nature of their geologic formation.
Other asbestos fibers that have not been used commercially are tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite, although they are sometimes contaminants in asbestos-containing products. It should be noted that there are non-fibrous, or non-asbestiform, variants of tremolite, anthophylite and actinolite, which do not have the adverse health consequences that result from exposure to commercial forms of asbestos.
What is common to many asbestos-containing products is that they were (are) used to contain heat (i.e. thermal insulation.) It is impossible to list all of the products that have, at one time or another, contained asbestos. Some of the more common asbestos-containing products are pipe-covering, insulating cement, insulating block, asbestos cloth, gaskets, packing materials, thermal seals, refractory and boiler insulation materials, transite board, asbestos cement pipe, fireproofing spray, joint compound, vinyl floor tile, ceiling tile, mastics, adhesives, coatings, acoustical textures, duct insulation for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, roofing products, insulated electrical wire and panels, and brake and clutch assemblies.
Some of these products contained a very high proportion of asbestos, while others contained small amounts
Asbestos is still a problem because a great deal of it has been used in this countryand elsewhere, because many asbestos-containing products remain in buildings, ships, industrial facilities and other environments where the fibers can become airborne, and because of the serious human health hazards of inhaling asbestos fibers.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that make up the lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs (pleura), or around the abdominal organs (peritoneum).
What does asbestos have to do with mesothelioma? The only known cause of mesothelioma is previous exposure to asbestos fibers. Asbestos manufacturers knew about the hazards of asbestos seventy years ago - but they kept this knowledge to themselves. The first warnings to workers exposed to asbestos were given in the mid-1960s, and they were terribly inadequate. Even today, workers are not always told they are working around asbestos and are at risk for asbestos disease.
It can take 15 – 60 years after first exposure before the development of diseases related to exposure to asbestos. After diagnosis of an asbestos related disease you have three years in Northern Ireland and two years in the Republic of Ireland to lodge a claim.
The success of the claim will depend on whether the companies where the exposure occurred still exist. If not, there are other options - we may be able to trace the insurers of the companies, or provide details of various government schemes.
We provide a free service to advise whether you have a claim. Our panel of experts will review your details and provide a free assessment of the prospects of success. Whether or not you then proceed to lodge a claim is entirely up to you.
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