Places in the UK you’re most at risk from Mesothelioma

Asbestos has been used for hundreds of years across the world – in fact for many years, it was seen as a ‘wonder material’, coveted by the rich and mighty, to how their high social status. But we now have a very different view of asbestos – as a deadly substance that can lead to serious ill health and even death. This change of view is not as recent as we might think however, in fact, scientists raised concerns about the use of asbestos over 100 years ago, yet shockingly, it continued to be used as a building and insulation material, as recently as the past few decades. This has led to a large increase in workplace accident claims, but although asbestos is no longer in use, those who may have been exposed to it may still suffer from its effects.

The dark history of asbestos

In 1917 and 1918, researchers began to pick up on the fact that asbestos miners were suffering, and dying from lung conditions, despite their young age. The first diagnosis of asbestosis was made as early as 1924, in a 33 year old woman, and a few years later, the first regulatory laws about asbestos were introduced. Ventilation was made mandatory in the workplace and scientists also started to connect the dots between asbestos exposure and cancer.

In the following decades, the recognition of asbestos-related illnesses led to a large number of legal claims against employers, and the number of asbestos Claims by area rose significantly – over £300 million in lawsuits were raised by asbestos-affected employees. Because of the nature of asbestos-related illnesses, with symptoms often not appearing for many years after exposure, those who worked in the construction industry as well as other industries continue to suffer the consequences of asbestos, even decades after working there.

Who is most at risk?

Asbestos was used in many industries across a wide range of applications – from building insulation, to auto repair, construction, shipbuilding, oil refineries and power plants. Those most likely to be affected are ordinary workers who were active on the factory floor or construction site, or workers who may have been exposed to areas where asbestos was used.

Research shows that a large number of people affected in the UK by asbestos are mainly in the building and construction industries, particularly those who may have worked on older buildings when asbestos was still used as an insulation material. These include people such as brick layers, carpenters, electricians and floor covering workers. However other areas of industry have also revealed alarmingly high number of asbestos-related illnesses and deaths. These include people who may have worked for long periods in older buildings. As asbestos was used in such a wide range of construction sites, including schools, hospitals, police stations and more, exposure to asbestos can affect many of the staff who worked in these institutions. Unfortunately, as asbestos exposure does not reveal itself for years, if not decades, many of the individuals who may have been exposed to it in the course of their working lives are only now realising the effects it has had on their health.