Asbestos News Roundup – April

Asbestos News Roundup – April

Here in the UK we seem to see asbestos in the news fairly regularly, so once a month, one of our blog posts deals with recent news stories about asbestos.  This is our third news roundup and, again, 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.

We recently reported on The Mesothelioma Act 2014, a progressive step forward in the way in which those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma are dealt with and compensated.  Asbestos lawyers in the UK have welcomed the scheme while warning that it is only open to those who were diagnosed on or after July 25, 2012.  Lawyers are concerned that many thousands of people in the past went without any compensation and that claiming under this new scheme could result in payouts that are significantly less than what victims would have been entitled to through a civil compensation case.

The BBC recently disclosed that lung experts believe that the insurance industry should fund research into asbestos related mesothelioma.  This research is vital to find methods of alleviating the suffering of patients.  With about 2,000 people diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, those numbers are likely to increase over the coming 30 years with a total estimated death toll of between 56,000 and 63,000 according to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The Stoke Sentinel revealed this month that local children are risking exposing themselves to asbestos at a closed down school building in Bucknall.  The site is being prepared for demolition, which involves removing potentially lethal asbestos.  Several break-ins have occurred and police in the area believe that kids are the culprits.  The school closed down last summer and pupils and staff relocated to a new site.  However, until the building is demolished, it’s bound to attract local youngsters looking for somewhere to play.

Across the pond in America it’s been disclosed that Washington State’s Department of Corrections has finally ended a 23 year program that used prison inmates to asbestos projects.  This allowed workers to be exposed to asbestos (although the amount of exposure is as yet unclear) when working nine hour shifts on removing contaminated floor tiles.  Although inmates were trained and certified for asbestos removal and investigation by the Department of Labor and Industries discovered that proper procedures were not always followed, contaminated materials were not always wet down and protective equipment was not worn consistently.

Meanwhile, Italian scientists claim that siblings who work together around asbestos are more likely to develop mesothelioma together, suggesting a genetic link to the deadly disease.  A new study on clusters of mesothelioma cases in Italy has discovered that the disease can run in families, especially those with a common history of asbestos exposure.  The researchers found that the most common clusters where those with affected siblings and unaffected parents with the highest number of familial clusters of mesothelioma cases occurring among siblings who worked in the same occupational environment.