In the days prior to the 1980s, before it was known that asbestos caused malignant mesothelioma and other serious illnesses, workers were put at risk without their knowledge and without proper protections. Today, as the world has learned that asbestos is carcinogenic, construction workers and others in occupational settings with known exposure to asbestos are offered protections, including respirators, specialized clothing, and constant air quality testing. But according to information obtained through a Freedom of Information request, the employees at the United Kingdom’s National Health Service hospitals work in environments that are just as contaminated with asbestos as those that are thought of as requiring protection, and the same is true in the nation’s school buildings too.
The report was instigated by a BBC investigation that found over 350 legal claims made against the hospital trusts by those sickened with malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in the last few years. More than 6.8 million British pounds have been distributed to victims, and the request for information revealed that out of 211 hospital building administrators that responded to the information request, 198 admitted that there building was known to have asbestos contamination. The material was used in the construction of buildings prior to the 1980s, before its deadly impact was widely known. Today, age and exposure has led to the material breaking down and deteriorating, entering the air in the buildings and putting hospital workers at significant risk of inhaling microscopic particles that cause cancerous mutations.
Speaking of the risk of mesothelioma, asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer that the workers in the hospital buildings face, Jo Stevens, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Occupational Health and Safety, says, “If it’s there it will at some point become dangerous if it’s disturbed or if it deteriorates, so I’d like to see long term plans and long term strategies in place for its removal from all buildings.”
In response, the organization responsible for keeping the workplaces safe is insisting that the asbestos is fully contained, and that working in the buildings poses no mesothelioma risk. This claim is belied by the number of payouts the organization has paid to victims, as well as similar information coming from the National Education Union about risks found in school structures. They point out that over the last 17 years there have been more than 200 teachers who have succumbed to malignant mesothelioma, and many more are expected to follow.
A diagnosis of mesothelioma is a shock, but when your exposure occurs as a result of another’s negligence, it is an outrage. If this has happened to you, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.