With asbestos in the news on a regular basis here in the UK, we’re starting a new, regular news roundup blog for asbestos. Once a month, one of our blog posts will focus on some of the news stories coming out that deal with asbestos. This is our first news roundup and it would be interesting to know what you, the readers, think of the stories that feature here. Please join in by adding your comments below the regular news roundup postings.
First up is today’s news from the BBC that thousands of patients (and their families) will now be able to apply to a new fund to claim for damages with payments expected to range from £115,000 to £123,000.
In Barking on the Thames View Housing estate, it’s been revealed that 27 residential properties have tested positive for asbestos. The presence of the deadly substance came to light following testing on the internal walls on a council house undergoing renovation work. A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham Council, which manages the properties, has claimed that the material is safe “if left undamaged and not disturbed”. However, local residents will need to evacuate their homes while the council carries out a modernisation programme to replace bathrooms, kitchens and wiring.
Meanwhile news reports just in disclose that more than £35 million in compensation has been paid to employees who were poisoned by asbestos in Plymouth’s Devonport Dockyard. Plymouth has one of the highest rates of asbestos related illnesses as the substance was widely used both on ships and in buildings at the Royal Navy dockyard. Hundreds of workers inhaled asbestos fibres due to a lack of adequate health and safety measures leading to a range of lung diseases from fatal cancer mesothelioma to pleural plaques.
Down under, KiwiRail in New Zealand has pulled 40 trains from service after asbestos was discovered in them. The locomotives have been removed due to safety considerations after routine testing of a paint sample revealed the possible presence of asbestos.
The trains were built and supplied by China-based Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Company which has confirmed the presence of white asbestos in a soundproofing compound used during manufacture. KiwiRail reckons that the inclusion of asbestos is in breach of the contract specification. The manufacturers have taken full responsibility and will do whatever is necessary in order to rectify the situation.Clare County Council in Ireland has launched a stringent investigation into the dumping of potentially hazardous waste in parts of the county. The local authority has hired an external investigator after asbestos waste materials were discovered at 9 separate locations following complaints from a member of the public.
Vigilant members of the public in Grimsby have led to a fly tipper being caught red-handed dumping toxic asbestos waste in the area. This followed an appeal in the Grimsby Telegraph for help to catch the culprits who have dumped more than 12 tonnes of asbestos in North East Lincolnshire so far this year.
On a lighter note, Dorset based hardcore punk band Asbestos who hail from Weymouth are offering fans a free download on a full length digital album release via the bandcamp.com website.