It has often been tragically recounted by mesothelioma victims that during the 1960s, 70s and even the 1980s there was a total lack or inadequate asbestos awareness, information or protective equipment while they were employed in an asbestos using industry, such as shipbuilding, construction or manufacturing.

It is therefore, of concern to learn that even today the potential presence of asbestos can be still be shrouded in mystery and confusion due to an apparent lack of effective communication. In the past, it was not unknown for company employers to downplay, hush up or otherwise practice ‘damage limitation’ to prevent alarm spreading. Many years later, some liable companies can be traced by asbestosis lawyers to pay out mesothelioma compensation.

Fallen ceiling tiles…

Just this month rumours started to circulate that a number of fallen ceiling tiles discovered during a refurbishment at a health centre near Glasgow were suspected of containing asbestos fibres. While it is of deep concern that it is a health centre, which is affected by the possibility of exposure to asbestos, a number of staff who have been working at the building for twenty five years are extremely worried they may have been at serious risk to contracting an asbestosis disease for all that time.

However, despite the affected areas being sealed off and the presence of health and safety inspectors the centre staff have claimed that they have not been kept informed of ongoing developments.

There was a statement from the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which said that air tests conducted confirmed that asbestos had been identified, which was “immediately dealt with by a specialist contractor with all appropriate health and safety procedures followed.”

As a result, “there is no risk to the health of anyone – staff or patient – who uses the health centre.” It was further stated that the action taken “has been fully communicated to all the GP practices who are located within the centre and to all other staff who work in the building.”

Risk of asbestos-related disease…

Despite of the reassurances, the health centre staff are still yet to determine if the presence and likely exposure to asbestos at any time over the last quarter of a century has put them at risk of contracting an asbestos-related disease.

The problem of asbestos in public sector buildings such as schools, nurseries, hospitals and health centres has been of continuing concern to many mesothlioma patient help groups and campaigning organisations who continually call for more effective action to be taken in the management, elimination and disposal of the harmful mineral. In hospital and other healthcare facilities built or refurbished up until the 1980s and 90s, asbestos can be found in building materials such as wall board, ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boiler rooms and roofing sheets.

Asbestos tiles can often be found in a worn and friable ( disintegrating) condition and are known to release harmful fibre dust particles into the air. Once inhaled, the particles will permanently attach themselves to the lung linings. Only after a period of between 15 to 50 years will the first signs of mesothelioma or asbestosis symptoms appear.

Around 1.8 million people are exposed to asbestos every year around the UK ( Health & Safety Executive).