Asbestos Timeline - The Asbestos Law Partnership LLP (2022)


Dr Montague Murray gives evidence to the Departmental Committee on Industrial Diseases of the death of a man from an asbestos related condition.


Asbestos Timeline - The Asbestos Law Partnership LLP (1)

The first reported medical case of an asbestos related death due to asbestosis. Nellie Kershaw from Rochdale had worked at Turner Brothers Asbestos as a rover spinner.


The Government Factory Inspectors Report in 1928 noted cases involving asbestos exposure causing pulmonary fibrosis (asbestosis).


Government Factory Inspector's report by Dr Merewether and Mr Price presented to Parliament in March 1930 “Occurrence of Pulmonary Fibrosis & Other Pulmonary Affections in Asbestos Workers” They concluded there was a definite occupational risk in the asbestos industry in the form of a type of fibrosis of the lungs (asbestosis).


The Asbestos Industry Regulations 1931 come in to force on 1st March 1932. These regulations sought to control the amount of asbestos dust in factories.


The Factories Act 1937 came into force


The Factory Inspectors Annual Report of 1938 published in July 1939 commented “There can be no doubt that dust, if inhaled, is physiologically undesirable. Moreover dust that is thought today to be harmless may, following research, be viewed in another light to-morrow. It is not many years ago when the dust of asbestos was regarded as innocuous while to-day it is recognised as highly dangerous.”


Asbestos Timeline - The Asbestos Law Partnership LLP (2)

Nora Dockerty’s family were the first in the UK to receive compensation for her death from an asbestos related disease. Nora had worked at Turner Brothers Asbestos in Rochdale for 13 ½ years. (Image from

(Video) Facts about asbestos


Asbestos Timeline - The Asbestos Law Partnership LLP (3)

Eminent Scientist Richard Doll's report, "Mortality from Lung Cancer in Asbestos Workers" published and showed a link between asbestos dust and cancer. “Lung cancer was a specific hazard of certain asbestos workers”


The Shipbuilding and Ship-Repairing Regulations 1960 came into force on 31st March 1961. These regulations sort to control the use of asbestos in the shipbuilding industry.


Asbestos Timeline - The Asbestos Law Partnership LLP (4)

Pathologist Chris Wagner's report “Diffuse mesothelioma and asbestos exposure in the North Western Cape Province” showed a clear link between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma, an asbestos cancer.


The Factories Act 1961 came in to force on 1st April 1962


Turner & Newall solicitors warned the directors: "We have, over the years, been able to talk our way out of claims but we have always recognised that at some stage solicitors of experience . . . would, with the advance in medical knowledge and the development of the law . . . recognise there is no real defence to these claims and take us to trial."


Dr Muriel Newhouse and Hilda Thompson’s report established a link between mesothelioma and domestic exposure to asbestos. “There seems to be little doubt that the risk of mesothelioma may arise from both occupational and domestic exposure to asbestos.”


31 October 1965 – Front page Sunday Times Newspaper article reported a link between low level asbestos exposure such as from clothing and mesothelioma. “Scientists track down killer dust disease”


The Asbestos Regulations 1969 came into force on the 14th May 1970. These regulations imposed much stricter rules than those under the 1931 Regulations and applied to significantly more work with asbestos. At the same time a voluntary ban was introduced on the import of blue asbestos (Crocidolite) to the UK.

(Video) Asbestos Related Disease - Compensation Claims


Asbestos Timeline - The Asbestos Law Partnership LLP (5)

28th June 1971 – Groundbreaking World in Action Documentary – The Dust at Acre Mill - This was a TV documentary on Cape’s Asbestos Factory in Hebden Bridge and its dangerous use of asbestos.


The Health & Safety at Work Act introduced.


Asbestos Timeline - The Asbestos Law Partnership LLP (6)

Yorkshire TV prime time documentary “Alice – A Fight For Life” was shown on 20th July 1982 and ignited public and political debate around asbestos use in the UK. Alice Jefferson suffered from mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos at work at Cape’s Asbestos Mill, Acre Mill.


The Asbestos (Licencing) Regulations introduced.


The Asbestos (Prohibitions) Regulations 1985 were introduced and banned the import of blue and brown asbestos in to the UK


The Control of Asbestos At Work Regulations introduced giving greater protection to employees at work


Groundbreaking cases of Margereson and Hancock v JW Roberts Limited were heard. The Judge held that since 1933 JW Roberts should have known children playing near their asbestos factory in Armley, Leeds where asbestos was manufactured would be exposed to the risk of developing asbestos related diseases.

(Video) IOSH NTTL Campaign - Preventing asbestos exposure risks


Asbestos (Prohibition) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 come into force and white (Chrysotile) asbestos banned in the UK.


Federal Mogul (U.K) Group (previously the T & N Group) went in to administration on the 1st October 2001 and in October 2006 The T & N Asbestos Trustee Company Limited commenced the payment of claims made against two trusts which have been established to pay damages to those exposed to asbestos by T & N’s companies.


The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 come into force.


Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Limited, The House of Lords decided that a mesothelioma sufferer was entitled to damages from any person who had exposed them to asbestos when they could show that the exposure to asbestos had materially increased the risk of them developing mesothelioma as science could not prove when a person had been exposed to asbestos in more than one place, which exposure had caused the mesothelioma


Maguire v Harland and Wolff. The Court of Appeal decided a shipbuilding company could not have known that a wife washing her husband’s overalls which were covered in asbestos dust in the period 1960 to 1965 would be at risk of developing an asbestos related condition.


s.3 of The Compensation Act 2006 reverse Barker v Corus (UK) Plc. A mesothelioma sufferer is entitled to their damages in full from any person who negligently exposed them to asbestos.


Barker v Corus (U.K) Plc. The House of Lord’s decided following Fairchild that whilst a mesothelioma sufferer was entitled to damages for mesothelioma, where the sufferer had been exposed to asbestos with more than one person, each person only had to pay their share and not 100 % of the damages. This meant if a mesothelioma sufferer could not trace all the people who had exposed him or her to asbestos or their insurers then they would not receive full compensation


The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 come into force


Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council v MMI – The Court of Appeal decided that in a public liability claim, which is one where the exposure to asbestos was not from work, the correct public liability insurer was the one on cover 10 years before the mesothelioma sufferer developed symptoms.

(Video) Asbestos in UK Schools: Malcolm Underhill Interviewed on London Live


Rice & Thompson v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and another - The Court of Appeal found the National Dock Labour Board (The Government) owed a duty of care to dockworkers working in the Liverpool Dock who were exposed to asbestos.


The pleural plaques test cases - Rothwell v Chemical & Insulating Co Ltd – The House of Lords decided that pleural plaques were not compensatable.


The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme 2008 came into force. This allowed anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma who was exposed to asbestos in the UK to receive a one off lump sum payment from the Government.


Willmore v Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council. Diane Willmore had been exposed to asbestos whilst attending secondary school in the 1970’s. She later developed mesothelioma. The Supreme Court decided that a mesothelioma sufferer did not have to show that their exposure to asbestos with any person doubled the risk of them developing mesothelioma compared to the risk of the risk of them developing mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos from the general environment.


"The Trigger Litigation". On the 28th March 2012, the Supreme Court gave their decision in 6 cases together called The Trigger Litigation. The Supreme Court had been asked to interpret insurance policies which had been entered into between employers who exposed their employees to asbestos and their Employers Liability Insurers. The Supreme Court decided that the insurance company who insured an employer at the time a mesothelioma sufferer was exposed to asbestos was the insurance company that should pay damages.


The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 came into force.


The Mesothelioma Act 2014 gave the Government the power to establish The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme 2014. This scheme makes damages payments to those who have developed mesothelioma from being wrongly exposed to asbestos at work but their employer no longer exists and no insurer has been found.

Contact our Asbestos Solicitors


When was asbestos first recorded? ›

The use of Asbestos dates back at least 4,500 years. Evidence found near the Lake Juojärvi, Finland, shows that people used it to make pots and other cooking utensils. In Theophrastus, On Stones, from around 300 BC, there is a reference to a material that is thought to be asbestos.

When did asbestos start being used in UK? ›

The history of asbestos in the UK dates back to the late 1870s when the use of the material started, mainly on ships, steam engines and in power generating plants. By early 1900s the dangers of asbestos started becoming known – yet it wasn't until 1999 when all types of asbestos were banned in the UK.

How do you catch asbestosis? ›

Asbestosis (as-bes-TOE-sis) is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Prolonged exposure to these fibers can cause lung tissue scarring and shortness of breath.

What year did asbestos stop being used? ›

Although asbestos is not fully banned in the United States, newer homes typically were not built with asbestos-containing materials. Homes built after 1980 are less likely to contain asbestos. However, stockpiles of asbestos-containing materials may have been used into the 1990s.

When was asbestos banned? ›

On July 12, 1989, EPA issued a final rule banning most asbestos-containing products.

What years was asbestos used in homes? ›

A highly-effective and inexpensive fire-retardant material and thermal and acoustic insulator, asbestos was used extensively in home construction from the early 1940s through the 1970s.

Do 1920s houses have asbestos? ›

The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that most buildings constructed between the 1920s and mid-1970s had detectable levels of asbestos. In fact, C.P.S.C. investigators found asbestos in 20% of public buildings and nearly 60% of apartment buildings and homes. Much of this asbestos was considered “friable.”

Is it illegal to sell a house with asbestos UK? ›

Can you sell a house with asbestos? No - it isn't illegal to sell a house that contains asbestos in the UK, although as of 2013 and the Property Misdecriptions Act you are legally obliged to disclose that there is an asbestos presence during the sale.

Can a blood test detect asbestos? ›

The answer is yes and no. A new blood test has the potential to detect mesothelioma a decade before patients exhibit any symptoms. However, it cannot detect mere asbestos exposure. In fact, some individuals who have been exposed to asbestos never develop the malignant cancer, while others do.

Can the lungs clear asbestos? ›

Can asbestos be removed from the lungs? No known method exists to remove asbestos fibers from the lungs once they are inhaled. Some types of asbestos are cleared naturally by the lungs or break down in the lungs.

What happens if I breathe in asbestos once? ›

Is One-Time Exposure Harmful? It is possible to develop an illness such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural effusions or lung cancer after a one-time exposure to asbestos if the exposure was significant enough to lead to asbestos particles lodging in the body's tissues.

Is asbestos still used in 2022? ›

Asbestos No Longer Used Everywhere

According to U.S. Geological Survey, Minerals Commodity Summaries, January of 2022, the estimated consumption in 2021 was 320 tons, much of it from stockpiled reserves.

How long has it been since asbestos was used? ›

Although imports continue, asbestos has not been mined in the U.S. since 2002. Asbestos stopped being used in most industries and products by the late 1970s. Limits on asbestos and other toxic pollutants were put into place following passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

How do I know if my old house has asbestos? ›

You can't tell if a material contains asbestos just by looking at it. Only scientific testing of a sample can confirm this. So if you think a material might contain asbestos play it safe and treat it like it is until you've had it confirmed.

Why was asbestos banned? ›

Although asbestos is no longer mined in the U.S. and its use has declined significantly, American industry still legally imports, uses and sells both raw asbestos and products made with it. In the 1970s, after asbestos was proved to cause cancer, federal agencies began taking steps to regulate it.

Why is asbestos not banned? ›

Environmental Protection Agency,' the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected most of the EPA's ban on technical grounds. It held that the EPA had violated the TSCA by not adequately demonstrating that the asbestos ban was the “least burdensome” action that could achieve an acceptable level of risk.

What year was asbestos banned in popcorn ceilings? ›

Asbestos popcorn ceilings were popular between 1945 and the 1990s. Asbestos was officially banned from ceiling coverings in 1973. However, previously manufactured asbestos-containing products may have been installed in homes into the 1990s.

How do I know if its asbestos? ›

Asbestosis is usually diagnosed by a careful medical history, exposure history and chest X-ray or CT scan that shows scarring of the lung tissues. This information, along with breathing tests, helps your doctor determine how severe your asbestosis is and how well your lung is functioning.

Will a house built in 1996 have asbestos? ›

Properties built since the mid-1980s are very unlikely to contain asbestos in the fabric of the building. Properties built after 1990 are extremely unlikely to contain asbestos anywhere in the building. Asbestos cement has been widely used as a cladding material and can still be found in garages and sheds.

Where is asbestos found in older homes? ›

Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives. Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape. Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

Do popcorn ceilings have asbestos? ›

Some popcorn ceilings contain up to 10% asbestos contamination. Not all popcorn ceilings have asbestos, yet those built during and before the 1980s may have a high risk for contamination. How dangerous an asbestos-containing textured paint is, depends on its overall condition.

Is it illegal to sell a house with asbestos in it? ›

The answer to this question is yes you can sell a house with asbestos. Asbestos can potentially make it more difficult and time consuming to sell a house in some cases however.

How much money can you get from an asbestos claim UK? ›

The average compensation for asbestos claims is difficult to quantify as each case will be decided on its facts. But typically, a guide can be set out below: A young claimant with serious pain and impairment - £120,000. Lung cancer diagnosis with severe impairment for an older claimant - £90,000.

What is the average payout for asbestosis in the UK? ›

Severe – in more severe asbestosis cases, the compensation awarded for General Damages could be between £30,630 and £84,380. Mild – in cases of mild Asbestosis symptoms, the compensation payout could be between £12,020 and £30,630.

Are there immediate signs of asbestos exposure? ›

There are no known short-term side effects of asbestos exposure. This means that even breathing in high amounts of asbestos does not cause immediate symptoms. The long-term health effects of asbestos exposure take years or even decades to develop, with the earliest sign usually being shortness of breath.

Does asbestos show up on a CT scan? ›

Asbestos-related parenchymal and pleural changes can be detected with high-resolution CT (HRCT) more sensitively than with chest radiography 9, 10. Spiral CT is capable of finding small lung nodules and, thus, lung cancer in an earlier and more curable stage 11–13.

Can you have asbestos and not know it? ›

Symptoms of an asbestos-related disease typically don't appear until about 40 years after exposure. This asbestos latency period can make a mesothelioma diagnosis difficult since patients may not have symptoms until the disease is in its advanced stages.

Can a chest xray show asbestosis? ›

Imaging tests

These tests show images of your lungs: Chest X-ray. Advanced asbestosis appears as excessive whiteness in your lung tissue. If the asbestosis is severe, the tissue in both lungs might be affected, giving them a honeycomb appearance.

Do we breathe in asbestos every day? ›

We are all exposed to low levels of asbestos in the air we breathe every day. Ambient or background air usually contains between 10 and 200 fibres for every 1,000 litres (or cubic metre) of air. Whether a person goes on to develop an asbestos-related disease depends on a range of circumstances or exposure factors.

Does asbestos wash out of clothes? ›

Washing clothes in a washing machine should remove asbestos dust off your clothes.

Do N95 masks protect against asbestos? ›

A: An N95 mask is a disposable filtering facepiece respirator with two straps. When worn properly (with the mask making a tight seal with the user's face), it can protect against hazardous airborne particles. N95 masks do not protect against gases, vapors and cannot be used for asbestos, and they do not provide oxygen.

How long does asbestos dust stay in the air? ›

The toxic mineral dust can remain in the air for hours, placing anyone nearby in danger of inhaling or ingesting it. In an environment with few disturbances, it may take 48 to 72 hours for asbestos fibers to settle. If the dust is disturbed it can easily become airborne again because it is so light.

Is asbestos OK if you leave it alone? ›

If you think there may be asbestos in your home, don't panic. Asbestos-containing materials that aren't damaged or disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk. Usually the best thing is to leave asbestos-containing material alone if it is in good condition.

Was asbestos first used in the 1950s? ›

Commercial production of asbestos insulation began in 1879, and the first case of asbestos-related disease, described as "curious bodies" in the lungs was detected in 1899. The first cases of asbestosis and lung cancer attributable to asbestos exposure were diagnosed in the United States in 1935.

Was asbestos used in the 50s? ›

Asbestos was a common ingredient in vinyl floor tiles in the 1950s. Using a scraper to remove the old flooring can release dangerous asbestos fibers.

Where does asbestos originate from? ›

Where does asbestos come from? Asbestos minerals come from metamorphic rocks. Significant deposits of asbestos are located in the western United States. However, the mountains of North and South Carolina also have extensive deposits of asbestos minerals.

Was asbestos used in 1920s? ›

The houses, which were an average of 80 years old, contained asbestos, used widely as fireproofing material and insulation between the 1920s and mid-1970s, mostly in the basements, wrapped around heating ducts, pipes and water heaters.

What decade was asbestos used the most? ›

Peak world demand for asbestos was realized around 1977. Some 25 countries were producing almost 4.8 million metric tons per year, and 85 countries were producing thousands of asbestos products. But by the late 1970s, a dramatic decline began in the use of asbestos throughout the industrialized nations.

Is asbestos still used today? ›

Asbestos is still used in some construction materials. Some previously marketed asbestos-containing products, such as amphibole-contaminated vermiculite insulation, remain in many homes and other buildings in the United States.

Which countries still use asbestos? ›

(Some nations exempt minor uses.) Notable exceptions that still permit asbestos use are China, Russia, India, Brazil, Canada and the United States.

Who used asbestos first? ›

We first see evidence of asbestos being used to strengthen and improve materials about 4500 years ago, when people in East Finland used it to strengthen ceramic pots and utensils. Greek sources began to mention asbestos around 400 BC, discussing its useful properties such as its chemical and fire resistance.


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