Research conducted in the last five years consistently shows a worrying increase in the number of claims from individuals who, because of an original lack of asbestos awareness, had inadvertently been exposed to asbestos fibres, and as a result, became terminally ill from contracting asbestosis or mesothelioma.

Cases are not infrequently reported where workers employed for only a few years in heavy manufacturing, pipe fitting, steel erecting and other types of construction industries were exposed daily to asbestos, and return home with the deadly fibres hidden in their work clothing, hair and skin.

More shockingly, are increasing reports of fatal exposure to secondary asbestos in unexpected work environments. Most notably, are the number of cases of schoolteachers who are later diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis symptoms , the likely cause being the regular pinning and stapling of pupils’ work to pinboards on the classroom walls over a working life spanning decades.

In another case, a school classroom store cupboard constructed with shelves made of asbestos, was used daily for over 25 years and never cleaned. The constant picking up and putting down of books and paperwork on the shelves caused a disturbance of asbestos dust, leading to the contraction of the deadly mesothelioma.

The problem with asbestos exposure in schools has been dramatically highlighted by reported instances of pupils attending school classrooms covered with asbestos ceiling tiles or damaged tiles stacked at ground level being disturbed, dying from asbestos related disease over 30 years later.

In October 2009, a £85million asbestos compensation fund was set up by The London Pensions Fund Authority for the public sector, amid warnings that asbestosis claims are predicted to double in the next decade, to more than 400 cases by 2035!

If an illness is suspected to be asbestos related in origin, no matter how far back in time or tenuous the circumstances of exposure may seem to be, seeking professional legal asbestos advice is always the sensible course of action to take.