Welcome to our Asbestos Mesothelioma and Cancer information site.

An online support group for workers affected by Mesothelioma. Asbestos could have been inhaled many years ago whilst working without personal protective equipment (H&S wasn't as strict as it is today). It's important that any person working cutting pipes in the past contact their GP/Doctor for an examination. Caught early enough, Mesothelioma can be removed. Keep watching.

Asbestos is the name given to a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment as bundles of fibers that can be separated into thin, durable threads. These fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity. For these reasons, asbestos has been used widely in many industries.

Chemically, asbestos minerals are silicate compounds, meaning they contain atoms of silicon and oxygen in their molecular structure.

Asbestos minerals are divided into two major groups: Serpentine asbestos and amphibole asbestos. Serpentine asbestos includes the mineral chrysotile, which has long, curly fibers that can be woven. Chrysotile asbestos is the form that has been used most widely in commercial applications. Amphibole asbestos includes the minerals actinolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and amosite. Amphibole asbestos has straight, needle-like fibers that are more brittle than those of serpentine asbestos and are more limited in their ability to be fabricated .

Measures to be taken by employers to protect workers from exposure to asbestos

Where there is asbestos present or suspected to be present, employers are required to:
  • identify the presence/suspicion of asbestos;
  • check the condition of the material;
  • assess the likelihood of asbestos being disturbed by current/potential work;
  • if in a bad condition, seek to get the asbestos removed using specialist contractors;
  • assess the risk of workers being exposed to same;
  • identify the type of asbestos involved;
  • put in place measures to prevent exposure. If it is not possible to prevent exposure, to minimise it by reducing exposure to the lowest practicable level and at the very least below the exposure limit values;
  • erect signage to notify users of the presence of asbestos;
  • provide relevant training and information to employee about asbestos

Where asbestos is found in a workplace and it is necessary to disturb or remove it employers must:
  • introduce of formal management systems to control work which has the potential to disturb asbestos;
  • notify the HSA prior to carrying out any work that would be liable to expose or expose an employee to asbestos dust;
  • prepare a plan of work for removal;
  • ensure persons involved in asbestos removal have provided evidence of ability to carry out the work;
  • dispose of asbestos waste in a safe manner and ensure the clear up of asbestos dust is carried out using a dustless method;
  • remove asbestos dust from the air as near as possible to the point where it enters the workplaces involved;
  • provide a health assessment for employees who may be exposed to asbestos.
What programs are available to help individuals with asbestos-related diseases?

Some people with asbestos-related illness may be eligible for Medicare coverage. Information about benefits is available from Medicare’s Regional Offices, located in 10 major cities across the United States and serving specific geographic areas. The Regional Offices serve as the agency’s initial point of contact for beneficiaries, health care providers, state and local governments, and the general public. Contact information for each Regional Office can be found at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/RegionalOffices on the Internet. General information about Medicare is available by calling toll-free 1–800–633–4227 (1–800–MEDICARE) or visiting http://www.medicare.gov on the Internet.

People with occupational asbestos-related diseases also may qualify for financial help, including medical payments, under state workers’ compensation laws. Because eligibility requirements vary from state to state, workers employed by private companies or by state and local government agencies should contact their state workers’ compensation board. Contact information for state workers’ compensation officials may be found in the blue pages of a local telephone directory or at http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/owcp/wc.htm on the Internet.

If exposure occurred during employment with a Federal agency, medical expenses and other compensation may be covered by the Federal Employees’ Compensation Program, which is administered by the DOL, Employment Standards Administration’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. This program provides workers’ compensation benefits to Federal (civilian) employees for employment-related injuries and diseases. Benefits include wage replacement, payment for medical care, and, where necessary, medical and vocational rehabilitation assistance in returning to work. Benefits may also be provided to dependents if the injury or disease causes the employee’s death. The program has 12 district offices nationwide.

In addition, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program provides benefits to longshoremen, harbor workers, other maritime workers, and other classes of private industry workers who are injured during the course of employment or suffer from diseases caused or worsened by conditions of employment. Information about eligibility and how to file a claim for benefits under either of these programs is available from:

Organization: Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
Employment Standards Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
Address: Frances Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20210
Telephone: 1–866–692–7487 (1–866–OWCPIVR)
(Federal Employees’ Compensation Program)
(Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Program)
E-mail: OWCP-Public@dol.gov
Internet Web site: http://www.dol.gov/esa/owcp/index.htm

Eligible veterans may receive health care at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center for an asbestos-related disease. Veterans can receive treatment for service-connected and nonservice-connected medical conditions. Information about eligibility and benefits is available from the VA Health Benefits Service Center at 1–877–222–8387 (1–877–222–VETS) or on the VA Web site at http://www1.va.gov/health/index.asp on the Internet.

Is there Federal legislation to help victims of asbestos-related diseases?
No Federal legislation has been enacted to compensate victims of asbestos-related diseases or to protect people from asbestos exposure. However, a bill called the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act, or FAIR Act, has been introduced in Congress several times. This bill would create a national trust fund to compensate victims suffering from asbestos-related diseases. The proposed trust fund would be administered by the DOL, outside of the courts, through a claims process in which all individuals with certain medical symptoms and evidence of asbestos-related disease would be compensated. Funding for the trust would come from insurance companies and companies that mined, manufactured, and sold asbestos or asbestos products. Under the bill, individuals affected by asbestos exposure would no longer be able to pursue awards for damages in any Federal or state court.