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New asbestos law is not a big help

PUBLISHED: 16:42 25 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:16 11 August 2010

A NEW law which makes it possible to prosecute companies for the deaths of workers, will not help families of asbestos victims. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, which came into force on April 6, cannot be backdated to deaths whi

A NEW law which makes it possible to prosecute companies for the deaths of workers, will not help families of asbestos victims.

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, which came into force on April 6, cannot be backdated to deaths which may have been caused before that date.

Mike Merritt from the London Hazard Centre said the law will not be retrospective.

Barking and Dagenham was an asbestos hotspot, and many former employees of the Cape Asbestos factory in Harts Lane, Barking, which closed in the 60s, are still suffering from asbestos-related diseases.

Victims and their families can, however, claim compensation from the company's £40m compensation fund.

Mick Connolly from the Barking and Dagenham Asbestos Support Group, estimates that about 600 people may have died in the borough as a result of asbestos exposure.

He said: "It's very difficult to be precise, there are various diseases related to asbestos."

Many potential victims of asbestos are not aware that they can claim damages.

"We only know of people who came to us, and that's the tip of the iceberg."

Free advice for asbestos victims and their families is available on every last Wednesday of the month at Barking Town Hall. For information call 8554 5192 or 8227 2102.

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