Although the use of asbestos has been banned for many years, those who worked with it or in its vicinity continue to die in increasing numbers. Thousands more have to live with the ill-effects.

The dangers of asbestos have been known for over a century. The Chief Inspector of Factories reported as early as 1898 that asbestos had “easily demonstrated” health risks. Regulation of its use commenced in the 1930s. However, it continued to be used extensively until 1985 when blue and brown asbestos was banned altogether and white asbestos in 1999.

Exposure to asbestos fibres generally does not lead to immediate ill-health. By a process that is not fully understood, fibres in the lung cause the lung to fur up (asbestosis), or the walls of the lung to thicken and restrict expansion (pleural thickening) or cause cells to mutate and proliferate (lung cancer and mesothelioma). Often ‘pleural plaques’ can be seen on Xray, which are symptomless inflammations of the pleura or wall of the lung which is a sure sign of asbestos exposure. However, these diseases or conditions will not usually show themselves for at least 12 years and sometimes as much as 40 or 50 years.

If you have contracted an asbestos-related illness other than pleural plaques, you are likely to be able to make a financial claim or receive government benefits.

Depending on the nature and severity of your illness you may be able to obtain

  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit if you were exposed to asbestos at work
  • Attendance Allowance (if you are of state pension age) or Personal Independence Payments (if of working age)
  • New Style Employment Support Allowance if your illness forces you to stop work
  • a payment under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers Compensation) Act 1979
  • a payment under the 2008 Diffuse Mesothelioma Scheme
  • a blue disabled parking badge.

If you can identify an employer or other organisation responsible for all or part of your exposure to asbestos, you may also be able to bring a legal claim for compensation.

We have been acting for people with asbestos-related problems for over twenty years. We have the expertise to deal with your case quickly and efficiently. This means you can concentrate on the important things whilst we deal with your legal claim, safe in the knowledge that we are working to secure the compensation you deserve.

For individual advice about making a compensation claim or for submitting benefit applications, please contact Martyn Hayward on or call 01223 431112.

Anglia Asbestos Disease Support Group

Ashtons Legal are proud to sponsor Anglia Asbestos Disease Support Group, which has been established for individuals in East Anglia suffering the effects of exposure to asbestos. The support group meets on a monthly basis in Norwich and Bury St Edmunds and is open to patients, carers, family members, medical professionals and others experts working with sufferers. Click here for more information about the group.


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