Vacuum Cleaner Theft Sparks Asbestos Fears
United Kingdom police are appealing to the public to help locate a stolen industrial vacuum cleaner that was used to remove asbestos. The BBC reports that thieves broke into a renovation job site last weekend in the northern English town of Carlisle. The robbers took a yellow Numatic cleaner, moving five other cleaners into another room. Police have warned that anyone coming in contact with the cleaner faces serious health risks, and advised that it not be touched. A similar situation occurred three years ago, when burglars stole industrial vacuums from Redcar & Cleveland College in Northeast England. Again, according to the BBC, police at that time went so far as to warn the public not to purchase the cleaners if they were offered them.
The cause for extreme caution is warranted. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, there is no known safe level of asbestos exposure. Inhalation of the fibrous mineral causes serious illnesses, including asbestosis, cancers of the lungs and other organs, and mesothelioma. Asbestos is present in many older buildings in the United Kingdom and the United States. Versatile, cheap, and flame-retardant, the fibrous mineral was used extensively in building materials until about 1980, when the dangers of inhaling the material became widely known. Because asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma take decades to develop, thousands of people were exposed to the material while working on jobsites. Have you been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related condition? Do you believe you were exposed to asbestos at a job site? Then you may be entitled to financial compensation. If you want to learn more about your legal options, please contact us for a free case evaluation.