The Effect of Asbestos on your Pets and Wildlife

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We are aware of the serious effects Asbestos can have on your health – but have we considered the effect it may be having on them? Similarly, once we’ve gotten the Asbestos out of our homes, where is the hazardous waste being disposed of and how is it affecting our wildlife?

Even though it is extremely rare for pets and animals to contract diseases linked to Asbestos exposure; there have been cases of it happening, especially to dogs who have been taken off their lead on walks within wooded areas.

In 2015, the Daily Mail told the story of a Glasgow dog owner who paid £20,000 in vet’s bills in order to save the life of her dog after she developed Mesothelioma cancer. It was thought that when she’d taken her dog for a walk in some woodland, the dog’s curiosity must have led her to sniff around some broken Asbestos which had been disposed of incorrectly.

Whilst experts claim it can take up to 50 years for Mesothelioma to develop in humans (after exposure to Asbestos); in animals it is usually around the age of 8 that they are diagnosed with an Asbestos related disease.

The symptoms of Mesothelioma in pets is very similar to that of humans, which includes: abnormal breathlessness, weight loss, nausea and vomiting. If any of these symptoms carry on for an unusual amount of time in your pet, it is recommended that you take them to see your vet.

It seems that the disposal, or fly tipping, of Asbestos could be a major problem for the development of Mesothelioma in wildlife. Yet, as we are unable to monitor each individual animal, we cannot determine the full effect this illegal dumping could be causing.

Take for instance fly tipping…

Even without evidence, it cannot be denied that fly tipping would have a negative effect on the health of wildlife – especially if it were get into the soil or enter their water sources – as they would be taking it directly into their bodies.

Despite numerous cases depicting the damage fly tipping can have on nature; fly tipping of this hazardous substance is on the rise and is at a 10 year high! It has been reported that the annual cost of dealing with illegally dumped Asbestos has reached over £1 million. This is further substantiated by the BBC Wales news report where they revealed that between 2016 and 2017 there were 270 cases of fly-tipping Asbestos – a 57% increase compared to the year before.

With the presence of fly tipped Asbestos largely out of our control – what can we do to protect our pets and wildlife from roaming around it?

  • Report any suspected asbestos to the local council
  • If you see any vehicles you suspect of fly tipping, report them
  • If possible, block off the area without disturbing the material
  • If your pet has any symptoms relating to Mesothelioma, visit your vets
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