Written by personal injury specialist Peter Lodge of Festival Law.

The risks associated with asbestos have long been established.

The first Government regulations highlighting the potential dangers were published in 1932, although public awareness then became apparent throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

You only have to look at what people working in close proximity to asbestos now wear in order to fully appreciate its dangers.

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Sadly, for the bulk of the people who worked with or near to asbestos years ago, no such protection was available and there still remains the risk for them to develop an asbestos related condition.

It was assumed that there is a 30 to 40-year delay, from being exposed to asbestos to developing a lung related problem.

Oxford Mail:

To be fair, it is still a grey area as to how long the latency period is and how far back the exposure emanates, however the bulk of the clients we represent are between the age of 60 and 90 years.

Mesothelioma is the common type of asbestos related condition and Cancer Research UK estimate that some 2,700 people are diagnosed with this condition every year.

This number is relatively low compared to other types of cancer, although the condition is sadly terminal.

Read also: Former Cowley car plant worked died from mesothelioma, inquest rules

There are a number of clinical trials currently in progress, including immunotherapy treatment.

Chemotherapy treatment is available on the NHS although this provides more time rather than a cure.

Figures issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provided a chart that suggested that the likely peak development for mesothelioma would be between 2015 and 2020, with the condition then starting to decline in numbers over the next 10 years or so, so we hope to see fewer cases.

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The car plant in Cowley, Oxford, used to employ between 20,000 and 25,000 people throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

It is widely accepted that asbestos was present in many parts of the premises and the manufacturing process.

Festival Law have pursued a number of successful asbestos claims against this employer and their various insurers over the last 25 years.

From the archive: 'Car plant could face asbestos claims' solicitors warn

However, there remains the clear risk that others will also develop the same type of problem in years to come.

There is no reason why some people develop asbestos conditions and others don’t, even given that same working conditions and exposure.

For many, the threat will hang over them for years to come until such time that all asbestos conditions are a thing of the past.

Another worrying aspect is that asbestos was widely used in the construction of schools.

Oxford Mail:

An article published in January 2018 indicated that the Government had issued safety warnings after a study found asbestos in 83 per cent of schools surveyed across the country.

This represents four out of five schools, although it should be stressed that the material itself is only a potential danger when disturbed and then inhaled.

This was highlighted in an Oxford Mail article in June 2018 which referred to 'asbestos stricken Northfield school', based in Blackbird Leys, that led to pupils being taught at temporary sites as the main building was deemed 'unfit for purpose'.

We had also previously represented a teacher who had developed the condition mesothelioma having previously worked as a science teacher in a school.

Oxford Mail:

They were exposed to asbestos as it was contained within the inside of Bunsen burners in chemistry labs as well as resting on poorly maintained asbestos mats.

This also highlights that the level of exposure required can actually be fairly minimal which can cause this condition.

Having represented numerous clients over the past 25 years who have developed mesothelioma, I am all too familiar with the emotional effect that it has, not only on the 'victim' themselves, but also their families.

The end is in sight although sadly for some, the threat of developing one of the asbestos conditions remains a real concern.

For now, the 'ticking time bomb' continues.