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An increase in former textile workers contracting the deadly asbestos cancer Mesothelioma is a timely reminder of the insidiousness of asbestos in the industry.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is rare cancer, which occurs many years after exposure to asbestos. The cancer is incurable and the average life expectancy from diagnosis is approximately 9 to 18 months.

How can textile workers have potential asbestos exposure?

“It’s no surprise that former textile workers are at risk of contracting mesothelioma”, says Slater & Gordon Asbestos Lawyer, Tracy Madden. “The textile and clothing manufacturing process involved the use of steam; which invariably meant lagged steam pipes. Although workers may not have used asbestos products themselves, they were in the vicinity of maintenance occurring on lagged pipes. This type of exposure is known as bystander exposure and represents a significant portion of all mesothelioma sufferers.

Mesothelioma has a long incubation period

“I have seen a number of people who worked in the textile industry and contracted mesothelioma”, says Ms Madden. “Given the hey day of manufacturing in the 1950s to 1980s, I would expect this trend to increase over the next few years.

Register if you worked at a textile factory between 1950 and 1980

The Asbestos Register records details about when, how and where a person may have exposed to asbestos. “I would recommend members fill in details about their own employment history, while it is still in their mind”, says Ms Madden. “In the event of the worse case scenario happening to you, there will be a record of the events of many years earlier.”

Members do not have to be diagnosed with an asbestos illness to register their details. The more information we have about workplaces, the greater assistance we can provide to others who may have been exposed to asbestos in similar circumstances.

To register for the National Asbestos Register, please click here.

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