Living in the Shadow of Asbestos

National Asbestos HelplineFor those of you affected by asbestos there is help out there. You could even be entitled to financial support. Asbestos is one of the biggest workplace killers in the UK and causes more deaths a year than road traffic accidents. For many tradesmen, manual workers and engineers, asbestos exposure in the workplace will have been inevitable during the last sixty years due to its widespread use.

Have you been exposed?

Those who have worked as laggers, electricians, dockworkers, joiners, plumbers (to mention a few) or in any factory where asbestos may have been present (power stations, shipyards, railways etc.) are likely to have come into contact with asbestos dust. Cases can also occur where family members have been exposed to asbestos dust from washing work clothing or simply being in contact with asbestos contaminated clothes. Anyone exposed to dust is at risk of developing an asbestos related disease, although the risk increases based on the amount of exposure.

Asbestos is a fibrous material, which was widely used in the construction of engineering, power and shipbuilding industries. When the fibres are disturbed and become airborne they are inhaled and damage the lungs. Exposure to asbestos increases the risk of illness and asbestos-related diseases can take between ten to fifty years to develop.


If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms it is important to tell your doctor if you have worked with asbestos directly or near it or if a loved one has worked with asbestos.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains
  • Persistent cough

Asbestos can cause various conditions including Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Pleural Plaques, Lung Cancer, Pleural Thickening and Pleural Effusions. 

Even if you think that your condition is not causing you problems it is vital to check your legal rights as soon as possible. While some of these lung diseases are less serious they can be progressive and indicate past exposure to asbestos dust, which carries with it the risk of more serious illnesses.

If you are diagnosed with an asbestos related disease it is important to seek professional advice even if you do not believe your symptoms are significant. This is to ensure you protect your rights and to enable you to receive the help you are entitled. It is vital to work with a solicitor that has experience with asbestos related cases. The National Asbestos Helpline has a Freephone number 0800 033 0411 or you can visit their web site for more information.