On July 28th residents in Carley Hill Road were told to keep their windows and doors shut following a fire in a derelict building.

The authorities feared that the building contained asbestos and due to the fire, the asbestos fibres could have been released and blown around the local area as a result of the wind.

Could the building contain asbestos?

Asbestos was not banned until 2000. As such, any building built before 2000 could contain asbestos. Although asbestos is not dangerous if it is enclosed and kept in a good condition, it can be deadly if it becomes broken and the fibres are released into the air.

Why is asbestos exposure dangerous?

Asbestos exposure can cause a number of conditions, including: asbestosis, pleural thickening, lung cancer, pleural plaques and the asbestos-cancer, mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is an insidious cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It affects the lining of the organs and most commonly is found in the lungs or abdomen. Sadly, this cancer is very difficult to treat and the life-expectancy of someone who is diagnosed with the cancer is around 18 months.

Symptoms of mesothelioma do not develop until between 10 and 50 years after a person has been exposed to asbestos.

People are still being exposed to asbestos:

Although asbestos was banned in the UK over 18 years ago, people are still being exposed to it. The removal of asbestos can be expensive. As a result, buildings such as this derelict one in Sunderland, are left to deteriorate.

We often hear from people who have been exposed to asbestos whilst exploring abandoned buildings. Many people do not realise that there could be asbestos inside which has deteriorated and become dangerous. We would discourage anyone from entering old, abandoned buildings, because you do not know what unseen dangers could be lurking.

I have been exposed to asbestos – what can I do?

Unfortunately, if you are exposed to asbestos you cannot claim compensation unless you are diagnosed with an asbestos condition. In England and Wales you can currently claim for the following conditions:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestos-related lung cancer
  • Asbestosis
  • Asbestos-related pleural thickening
  • Pleural plaques with a restrictive defect on lung function
  • Asbestos related pleural effusions (fluid build up)

If you have been exposed to asbestos recently and have not been diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition, we recommend that you see your GP and have it noted in your records. This will help in the future if you have any symptoms of asbestos conditions.

We also recommend that you record the nature of your exposure to asbestos. You should retain records of your complaints for possible future use, together with details of the relevant company’s liability insurance providers, and policy number.

We would also suggest that you alert the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as your employers may be at fault. You can find the details for them on their website.

How can we help?

If you require assistance to pursue an asbestos claim for mesothelioma or for any other asbestos disease, please contact us today. You can do so by calling 0800 038 6767, or by visiting our contact page here.

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