A large quantity of asbestos boards have been dumped near the entrance of a recycling site in Chipping Norton.

Site closed as a precaution

The material, dumped by fly tippers, caused West Oxfordshire District Council to close the recycling site at New Street as a precaution, until the site could be made safe again.

This is not ideal in the current lockdown situation as many people have taken advantage of being stuck at home to have clear outs and do decorating projects and so have lots of stuff they need to get rid of.

The site is now open again.

Dangers of asbestos

Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance. It was widely used in the construction industry throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s, with its use on the decline in the 1980s until it was finally banned in the UK in 2000.

Asbestos is dangerous when the fibres are released into the air and can be inhaled or ingested. Many of the boards dumped at the site were broken and so they did pose a real risk to anyone who came across them, as well as those who dumped them.

Prolonged exposure to asbestos can result in the development of pleural plaques, pleural thickening, asbestosis and asbestos-related lung cancer. However, it takes only minimal exposure to asbestos to put someone at risk of developing mesothelioma, the incurable cancer. This disease can be caused by just one fibre.

10 to 50-year wait

Whilst the Council will have ensured that those removing the asbestos boards from the recycling site took the proper precautions, unfortunately it is unlikely those who dumped the boards will have. They now face a 10 to 50 year wait to see if their exposure to asbestos will have any effect on them.

Asbestos-related conditions have a latency period of between 10 and 50 years from the exposure to asbestos to the development of symptoms of an asbestos-related disease. Sadly, once exposure to asbestos has occurred, there is no way of knowing who will be affected and no way to prevent a condition from developing. Thankfully, asbestos conditions are rare and not everyone who is exposed to asbestos goes on to develop an asbestos-related condition.

Recent exposure to asbestos

If you have had recent exposure to asbestos you cannot claim compensation for this, it is only once you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition that you are eligible for compensation.

However, there are some things you can do, so you are prepared, if you ever do need to pursue a claim for asbestos disease compensation:

  • Make a note of the circumstances of your exposure to asbestos. Where, when and how were you exposed? Were there any witnesses? Get their details. Keep all of this information safe so it is ready if you ever need it.
  • Get insurance details. If you were exposed to asbestos at work, you need to get details of their insurers. If you were exposed in a rented home, you should ask your landlord for details of their insurers.
  • Inform your GP. Although there is nothing that can be done once you have been exposed to asbestos, having the exposure noted in your medical records will ensure that if, in the future, you start to suffer with symptoms of an asbestos condition, your doctor can make the necessary investigations. It is also evidence of the exposure occurring.
  • Inform the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). If you were exposed to asbestos, it is likely someone has not done their job properly. Report the exposure to the HSE so they can investigate and ensure no other people are exposed.

If you require assistance in pursuing an asbestos compensation claim for mesothelioma or other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

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