Asbestos in Neath Port Talbot
A significant number of people who have lived and worked in the Neath Port Talbot region are still being diagnosed with serious, frequently life-ending, asbestos-related illness.
Unfortunately, this does not come as a surprise to specialists in the asbestos industry given the vast history of heavy industry in the local area. Metal, oil and chemical plants in Baglan Bay, Llandarcy and Port Talbot have given rise to many historical accounts of heavy exposure to asbestos. Likewise, there was also a shipping industry in the area and numerous factories where people were exposed and then went on to develop asbestos diseases in the Neath Port Talbot region.
Why do people from Neath Port Talbot continue to be diagnosed with asbestos diseases?
Many of the local industrial plants have been closed for a number of years (some of them for decades) and this can lead some people to believe that asbestos problems are a thing of the past.
Not everyone is aware of the long latency periods that occur with asbestos-related diseases. These latency periods mean that a person exposed to asbestos is usually not at risk of developing one of the main asbestos-related diseases (namely mesothelioma, diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis and lung cancer) until many years later. In fact, it can take upwards of 40 / 50 years for a person to develop a disease after exposure to asbestos, or they may never develop an illness.
- Emma C James
- Associate Solicitor - Asbestos Claims
- Charlotte Perkins
- Associate Solicitor & Asbestos Claims Manager
- Bronte Pettifer
- Trainee Solicitor - Asbestos Claims
When were the risks known by the industries in Neath Port Talbot?
The terrible fact of the matter is, that the risks of asbestos were known for years before many industries in the Neath Port Talbot region took the appropriate actions to protect their employees. It is the fact that these industries were aware of the dangers that they were subjecting their employees to that has lead them to be found liable by the courts for countless deaths many times over.
We also commonly receive accounts from people suffering with asbestos-related diseases about many types of misinformation, given to employees about the safety of asbestos.
One common statement used across many industries was to state that the use of white asbestos was safe. Experts working closely with the asbestos industry also helped to perpetuate this lie and later had to publicly reverse their statements and confirm that white asbestos is not safe.
The Asbestos Research Council was one of the main institutions tasked with investigating and analysing the risks of working with asbestos of all kinds. Unfortunately, it is now known that the majority of the ARC’s funding came from the big asbestos manufacturing corporations. Barry Castleman, an Environmental Expert and Researcher who wrote the journal article “Criminality and Asbestos in Industry” stated in his paper that:
“By 1963 and onwards, it was the ARC’s policy to require approval by all member companies, of any ARC-funded research.” Researchers “regularly submitted pre-publication manuscripts for review, and they were directed to make numerous changes before approvals were granted […] Papers approved by the ARC Research Committee had to afterwards be approved by the ARC Management Committee before publication was authorised”.
This has been supported by the views of Historian Geoffrey Tweedale who stated in his paper: Science or Public Relations?: The Inside Story of the Asbestosis Research Council, 1957-1990. The impression of an independent science-based organisation could not have been further from the truth. The ARC began and remained commercially motivated”. Tweedale points out: "the ARC was run by industrialists and not by scientists." The growing importance of the ARC to the asbestos industry would appear to be evidenced by the fifty-fold increase in its budget from £4,100 in 1957 to £230,000 in 1982. Seven million pounds of contributions bought its members, British Belting and Asbestos, Cape Industries and Turner and Newall, control: "Strategy was set by the management committee, which in turn responded to the wishes of the sponsoring director… these men did not see the ARC as fundamentally a council for scientific research. Ultimately, it was an attempt to capture the scientific agenda and influence public policy."
What about the future?
Sadly, the legacy of historical industrial asbestos exposure in Neath Port Talbot will result in people in the region continuing to be diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses for many years to come. The worst thing for many who develop these diseases is that they could have been entirely avoided had the proper precautions and warnings been in place.
However, once the legacy of historical heavy industry draws to a close, will that be the end of asbestos problems in the region? Unfortunately, the answer has to be no.
The issue we will face much further into the future is that many people are still being exposed to asbestos today. Asbestos remains a problem in older factories and other industrial buildings even today, as well as in schools, offices and many other public buildings. The presence of asbestos in all of these buildings creates a risk that needs to be properly managed.
For example, when an investigation using requests under the Freedom of information act was carried out in 2012 to 2013 it was discovered in Neath Port Talbot that out of the 82 schools in the region, 69 contained asbestos. At the time, the total number of pupils in the schools that contained asbestos was reported to be 18,108. These figures may have increased since then, as there are currently 21,500 pupils educated in Neath Port Talbot across 86 schools in the region. In addition to the number of pupils in those schools, it has to be remembered that they are also being by 1374 teachers and that there will be many other types of staff working in those schools; including the individuals who carry out maintenance and repairs that work in those schools.*
Services we offer to people with asbestos diseases in Neath Port Talbot
As a result of the continued problems in the region, we continue to assist people to pursue mesothelioma compensations claims (and other asbestos compensation claims) in and around Neath Port Talbot.
We are conveniently placed to assist people in this region, having offices nearby in Swansea and Cowbridge and a specialist asbestos solicitor who lives close by, near Pyle. We consider the locality to our clients to be incredibly important in being able to support them properly.
Our specialist mesothelioma solicitor will visit clients at home wherever this is convenient for them and ensure they receive the highest standard of service possible throughout their claim.
Mesothelioma Compensation Claims in Neath Port Talbot
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer which typically affects the pleura of the lung. It is almost always connected to asbestos exposure.
In mesothelioma cases, where a successful compensation claim is made clients will always receive 100% of their compensation and the legal costs are recoverable from the responsible party. There are never any deductions in this type of claim.
Pleural thickening compensation claims in Neath Port Talbot
Pleural thickening is a benign condition that affects the lining of the lung. The condition causes a life-long respiratory condition of various levels of disability. The level of disability can progress as time goes on.
With JCP Solicitors, pleural thickening claims in Neath Port Talbot will be dealt with by an experienced specialist and local asbestos solicitor who will closely support you throughout the process.
Asbestosis compensation claims in Neath Port Talbot
Asbestosis is a type of pulmonary fibrosis in the lung caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestosis compensation claims can be complex and it is very important that you instruct a specialist asbestosis solicitor to deal with your claim for you.
We have a specialist asbestos solicitor who is local to the Neath Port Talbot area, who already has experience of successfully bringing cases against the industries in the region.
Asbestos-related lung cancer claims in Neath Port Talbot
Like asbestosis, lung cancer can be caused by more than one type of exposure and in order to prove that a person’s lung cancer has at least in part been caused by asbestos exposure the person must be able to provide details of a long history of frequent moderate to heavy asbestos exposure. It is important to instruct a solicitor that is experienced in dealing with these types of claims and understands the exposure levels required to prove these types of claim. We have a specialist solicitor who deals with lung cancer claims in the Neath Port Talbot area.
While lung cancer claims can be more difficult than some of the other types of asbestos claims, our specialist asbestos solicitor has successfully obtained compensation for a number of clients with this condition. In a recent lung cancer case, the compensation received by her client was £200,000.