What's going on at Oliver & Co

We’re going Blue for Meso

Posted on June 27th 2022

Here at Oliver & Co Solicitors we deal with many areas of law, whether you are moving house, looking to get organised for the future with a Will or buying a business, we can help. There are some departments here though, that we wish people didn’t need and our Industrial Disease Department is one of them.

There are a number of industrial diseases you can claim compensation for, vibration white finger, noise induced hearing loss and occupational dermatitis, to name a few. However, the majority of claims our team deals with are for asbestos-related diseases.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral with heat, electricity and sound resistant properties. Due to these qualities, it was used extensively in manufacturing and construction in the UK, particularly in the 1950’s to 1980’s.

There are three main types of asbestos:

  • Chrysotile or white asbestos – this was the most commonly used type of asbestos and was often used in cement, brake pads and brake linings, and roofing materials.
  • Amosite or brown asbestos – this is a particularly strong and heat resistant type of asbestos and due to this, it was commonly used in plumbing and electrical insulation.
  • Crocidolite or blue asbestos – the fibres of crocidolite are very thin and brittle, making it one of the most harmful types of asbestos as it is easily broken down and inhaled.

By the year 2000, the use of any type of asbestos in the UK was banned, this means that any building built before this time, could contain asbestos and surveys should be done before any work is carried out that might disturb asbestos. It is when the asbestos is in a poor condition or is disturbed, and becomes airborne, that it becomes dangerous as this is when the harmful fibres can be inhaled or ingested.

Asbestos-related conditions

There are a number of conditions that can be caused by exposure to asbestos. Thankfully, not everyone who is exposed to asbestos will be affected, but it can take between 10 and 50 years for the symptoms of an asbestos-related condition to begin.

  • Mesothelioma

This is a very aggressive, treatment resistant cancer which affects the lining of the body’s organs. It most commonly affects the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) but can also affect the heart and other organs. Mesothelioma can be caused by only minimal exposure to asbestos.

  • Asbestosis

This is a lung disease characterised by diffuse pulmonary fibrosis or scarring of the lung tissue. There is no cure, and symptoms can include persistent coughing, chest pain, breathing difficulties and fatigue. Heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos is needed to cause asbestosis.

  • Pleural thickening

This is a thickening or scarring of the pleura or the lining of the lungs. It mainly affects the inner lung surface and can cause breathlessness as it stops the lungs from being able to expand properly. Pleural thickening is often caused by exposure to asbestos over a long period of time.

  • Asbestos lung cancer

There are a number of causes of lung cancer, but it can also be caused by asbestos. This is different to mesothelioma in that lung cancer develops in the lung tissue rather than the lining of the lungs.

  • Pleural plaques

These are areas of scar tissue on the pleura, the thin membrane covering the lungs. This is the most common asbestos-related condition, and it is benign. Most people do not suffer any symptoms with pleural plaques and so compensation cannot be claimed. However, in some cases pleural plaques are so extensive that they restrict lung function, and, in these circumstances, a claim can be pursued.

  • Pleural effusion

This is when fluid builds up in the pleural cavity, the space between the tissue lining the outer surface of the lungs and the inside of the rib cage. It can cause symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain or a dry cough. Pleural effusions can be caused by a number of conditions such as pneumonia or congestive heart failure but can also be caused by exposure to asbestos.

Action Mesothelioma Day

On the first Friday of July, each year around the world, people take part in Action Mesothelioma Day. This is a day to raise awareness of mesothelioma, educate people on the dangers of asbestos and remember those who had sadly lost their fight with the disease.

Each year our Industrial Disease team marks the event by taking part in local events, holding fundraising events and remembering past clients. This year, they are also taking part in Action Meso’s Go Blue for Meso campaign.

Go Blue for Meso

“Go Blue for Meso” is a national campaign to help raise awareness of mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos. To help with this, they are lighting buildings and landmarks across the UK in blue on Friday 1st July. We have got involved and arranged for three of Chester’s landmarks to be lit in blue for the event, the Eastgate Clock, the Town Hall and Newgate Bridge will all be blue for the evening.

If you would like to get involved, you could light your home up blue for the day or contact your local council to see if your local landmarks could be lit in blue. Further details can be found here.

On Friday we will be visiting the Chester landmarks and sharing photos on our social media to help promote the campaign and raise awareness of mesothelioma.

If you have any questions about asbestos-related conditions or would like to speak to one of our specialist asbestos solicitors about a possible claim, please get in touch either via our contact form, by email or by phone on 01244 312306.

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306