There are many cruel elements about asbestos-related illnesses. The often-unknowing exposure, where individuals inhale the asbestos fibers with no knowledge that the substance was present. There is the enormously variable latency period, meaning it can be years or decades between when you are exposed and when the first signs of the disease begin to manifest.
However, perhaps the cruelest element is how many times someone knows of the danger of asbestos, and instead of immediately taking action and remedying the situation, they do nothing.
Which is actually something very dangerous when it comes to asbestos.
This is the pattern and practice of the entire industry. When they first learned of the deaths of workers exposed to asbestos dust, more than 100 years ago, they did nothing. Worse, they actively covered up the threat, pretending that it was baffling why so many asbestos workers died of lung disease.
So it is not really surprising to hear that a local government council in England, after an examination found asbestos in the town hall in 2002, did nothing. And the only reason it appears the story came to light, was when a resident requested documents from the basement storage, the request was denied due to the documents being contaminated with asbestos.
Since 2002, the council permitted “an unquantifiable number of its own employees plus workers from maintenance companies and similar were regularly exposed to these hazards.”
The council was fined £66,000 and an additional £16,862 in costs for violations of the English statutes regulating these issues. Apparently, the council had known of the presence of asbestos in their basement for more than 30 years, yet there was no risk management process in place and they lack any coherent plan to identify the asbestos and prevent further exposure.
Source: localgov.co.uk, “London council fined after decade of ignoring asbestos risks,” Mark Whitehead, June 2, 2015