Two-hundred military veterans who may have come into contact with asbestos before 1987 are being told that they not get any compensation – despite the fact they were working for their country when it happened and may have been seriously affected by inhalation of the material.
In this short piece, we investigate how asbestos can affect a person, the current laws on asbestos and how the appeal against the government’s decision is taking shape.
What is Asbestos?
There are six different types of materials that are classed as asbestos, each a natural material (as opposed to man-made). Asbestos was much used in building work, for insulation of pipes, for example, before people became aware of the dangers it carried.
The material had appeal due to its resistance to the elements, but the use of it is now banned in the UK. However, so widespread was its use from the 1950s to the 1970s the material still remains untouched in a huge number of buildings erected before the ban.
What are the Dangers?
Asbestos causes damage when it is inhaled and has been linked to several terminal and fatal diseases including lung cancer. The problem arises only when the asbestos is disturbed (during demolition or renovation, for example) and the particles become airborne. This means that tradesmen such as builders and electricians are at high risk.
What are the Symptoms of Being Affected?
If you come in to prolonged contact with asbestos, the symptoms will lay dormant for decades: its incubation period is almost 30 years. Symptoms can come in many forms. Shortness of breath can be a sign that you have been affected but could also be due to a number of other reasons so make sure that you visit your GP before making assumptions.
I’m worried I Might have been Exposed
No matter how long ago it is that you feel like you may have come into contact with asbestos, it is important to contact your GP even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Short-term exposure is not likely to have done you any harm – long-term, however, is another matter. You should also think about contacting a solicitor such as First Personal Injury accident claims solicitors who work on a no win no fee basis.
What is the Current Law?
The Government is not offering compensation to veterans who were exposed to asbestos before 1987. This has come as a blow and a shock to those concerned and many are pushing for the 1987 rule to be scrapped to allow for people who may have come into contact with it earlier to be entitled to the same treatment being given that those who later worked with it.
If you feel as though you may have come into contact with asbestos at any point in your life and are concerned that you may be in danger, it is important to visit your GP regardless of whether or not you have symptoms, as the lengthy aforementioned incubation period means there will likely be no signs at all.
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