Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral silicate. Mining of asbestos first started over four thousand years ago and it is documented that agent Romans and Greeks used it. Modern production began in Canada in 1879. It is the only mineral that can be woven into cloth. In 1880 the first asbestos textile factory opened near Paris and within a few months the second opened in London.
Annual world production rapidly increased reaching its peak in 1970. Asbestos minerals can be broken down into two types:-
a. Chrysotile (white asbestos)
a. Blue asbestos
b. Brown or grey asbestos
Chrysotile asbestos is the most commonly used type of asbestos accounting for approximately 95% of the asbestos used. All types of asbestos cause diseases although chrysotile is less potent.
Amphibole asbestos is far more dangerous with amosite (brown or grey asbestos) estimated at 100 times more potent than crocidolite (blue asbestos) possibly 500 more potent.
Asbestos was used extensively in industry in Ireland and England throughout the 20th century. Some of the uses of asbestos are as follows:-
1. Cement sheets and wall boards, electrical housing and work surfaces.
2. Cement pipes (water, gas, sewage and special fluids).
3. Asbestos trade (textiles, tape seals, friction discs, flexible hoses).
4. Asbestos boards (flame proof cladding, soffit board, seals for chemical containers).
5. Raw asbestos (mixed with water and other substances used as lagging on pipes and sprayed onto surfaces, such as ship hulls, metal girders).
Who is at risk from asbestos exposure today?
Due to the latency period in asbestos diseases it takes many years for illnesses to develop after exposure.
Those who are identified early as developing illnesses worked close to the manufacturing industry:-
• Asbestos product manufacturing
• Asbestos users
Likewise those who came into contact with the same industry:-
• Those exposed domestically (washing clothing)
• Those exposed in the environment (near factories)
• Vicinity workers (not working with asbestos but near to others who were)
Although many cases still arise from the above exposures many recent cases have arisen for secondary workers (though who did not work with the original product but many years later worked on the same materials/areas where asbestos is contained such as:-
• Family members
What are asbestos related diseases?
• Benign pleural disease/plaques
• Diffuse thickening/folded lung
• Pleural effusion (fluid in lungs)
• Malignant mesothelioma
• Lung cancer
What is the latency period?
• Asbestos diseases seldom appear until twenty years or more after first exposure to asbestos
• Minimum latency from mesothelioma is probably around ten years
Asbestos and Lung Cancer
Asbestos causes all pathological types of lung cancer. Life expectancy is slightly longer than from mesothelioma but is still terminal.
The risk increases with the dose of asbestos. It is theoretically possible that exposure to just one tiny fibre of asbestos is sufficient to initiate the mutation of a normal cell into the first mesothelioma cell.
If someone has lung cancer it may be related to asbestos exposure.
Liam Moloney of Moloney Solicitors is currently acting on behalf of a number of clients who have been exposed to asbestos and suffered harm as a result of Asbestos Exposure.
If you wish to discuss a possible asbestos exposure damages claim please feel free to contact Liam Moloney Solicitor today in the strictest of confidence at 045-898000 or simply email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.