Expert predicts asbestos lawsuits in JamaicaThe Jamaican government and companies based in the island nation will likely begin to face asbestos lawsuits soon, according to one local expert and professor at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
The Jamaica Observer reports that between 2006 and 2011, 20 Jamaicans succumbed to asbestos-related illnesses, according to the Registrar General's Department. Overall, 12 died after being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, while the other eight passed away as a result of pneumoconiosis, the news source said.
Recent weeks have seen asbestos concerns elevated, with operations being disrupted at two local fire stations following the complaints of firemen about asbestos having been used in the construction of the facility. Now, the employees are reportedly demanding that the asbestos-containing materials be removed from the buildings.
UWI professor Ishenkumba Kahwa told the news source that incidents such as these indicate employees are no longer willing to accept what they believe is negligence on the part of their employers when it comes to asbestos.
Apart from malignant mesothelioma, asbestos exposure has been proven to cause lung cancer and asbestosis. All told, asbestos-related illnesses claim the lives of approximately 107,000 individuals around the world each year, according to the World Health Organization.