Asbestos is a substance that can be found in many building materials made before 2000. When materials containing Asbestos are damaged or moved suddenly, fibres can be released in the surrounding area. These fibres can damage the lungs when inhaled, or cause diseases – even years after someone’s been exposed.
Even if it has not been used in buildings in over 20 years, Asbestos exposure still kills 5000 workers every year in the UK alone. This is because the effects of Asbestos often don’t show right away, and, when they do, the diseases they cause have often advanced too far for treatment to be effective.
Being exposed to Asbestos in the workplace can be extremely damaging, and you should seek the help of personal injury solicitors in Manchester if you’re suffering because of Asbestos exposure, or any of the conditions it can cause.
If you’ve breathed in Asbestos fibres, you will start to have difficulties breathing after exercise – even something as easy as going up stairs can leave you short of breath. You may even start coughing heavily and often, in some cases with blood in your cough.
The main diseases that can be caused by Asbestos are:
- Asbestosis, when fibres reach the lung tissue and cause severe scarring, which cause difficulty breathing
- Mesothelioma, a type of cancer often caused by Asbestos. It affects the outer lining of the lungs and can even spread to the abdomen.
- Diffuse Pleural Thickening, the scarring and thickening of the outer lining of the lungs
- Lung Cancer cases have been linked to Asbestos exposure
If you have developed any of these conditions and work in an “at risk” industry, you may have been exposed to Asbestos, and you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Because of where Asbestos has been often used and how exposure happens, some workers will naturally be at a higher risk than others. Some of the jobs that represent a higher risk of being exposed to Asbestos are:
- Builders, who can handle building materials containing Asbestos
- Electricians, who may disturb Asbestos material while working
- Plumbers, who often access areas behind walls
- Laggers, who can disturb Asbestos when installing insulation
- Fire fighters, who can breathe Asbestos fibres from collapsing walls
- Boiler Servicemen, who often reach behind walls to work
- Ship Workers, because Asbestos was a common shipbuilding material
You may have been exposed to Asbestos if you work in any of these industries, and any new breathing symptoms should prompt you to see a medical professional and seek compensation from an employer, or the material’s manufacturer if necessary.
Many workers in these industries become sick, often decades after being exposed. It’s not uncommon for them to start legal proceedings against those in charge of health and safety at their work, and these cases are often successful. If you think you’ve become sick from Asbestos exposure, seek medical advice and have your health assessed by a professional before seeking compensation – with the help of an experienced team of lawyers.