In Spain, asbestos was used in an uncontrolled manner from the 1960's through to the 1980's, which coincided with the industrial development of the country. In fact, it is estimated that the majority of constructions built in Spain in those years contain asbestos in their materials and facilities. From the 1980's, its utilization was reduced to certain types of asbestos whose use was limited to certain very specific activities. Finally, in the year 2001, its use and distribution was fully prohibited in Spain (Order dated 7 December 2001 which amended the Annex I of the Royal Decree 1406/1989, dated 10 November, which established limits to the use and distribution of certain hazardous substances and products).
The negative health risks of using asbestos are exacerbated by the bad state of conservation over time of those products and facilities containing asbestos (what is technically called "friability" of the material, meaning its propensity to release fibres into the atmosphere).
Concerning the health problems associated with asbestos exposure, it shall be noted that, having regard to the severity of the injuries asbestos fibres cause in the lungs and the pleura, asbestosis is treated as an occupational disease (and not a common disease) pursuant to the Annex I of the Royal Decree 1299/2006, dated 10 November, on occupational diseases.
With respect to potential claims for material damages for exposure to asbestos, it is likely that the volume of such claims will increase over time, not least given the friability of asbestos and the difficulty of conserving materials containing it over time, . Nevertheless, the degree of damages awarded will depend, in each case, on the extent to which the asbestos was mixed with other compounds, the exposure of the asbestos to external conditions causing it to deteriorate and the amount of fibres released,
In this respect it shall be noted that the types of insurance policy that would respond to such claims would be those in respect of damage caused by fire and natural elements. Civil liability for such claims would be based on principles of law relating to liability for defective products. Claims would also be likely to be made against industrial insurance policies and schemes.