Due to its prevalence, it’s important for to raise the awareness of the dangers of asbestos and asbestos exposure – fibres can very easily be cast into the air if the material it is contained within is disturbed or broken.
More than 100,000 people worldwide die each year from occupational exposure to asbestos according to the World Health Organisation, and around half of homes in the UK contain asbestos. These shocking statistics highlight the continuing need for asbestos testing, and asbestos education.
Mesothelioma has a strong association with exposure to asbestos, typically with a long period between asbestos exposure, to displaying symptoms and being diagnosed with the disease. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that takes many years to develop following the inhalation of asbestos fibres. Annual deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980, include a substantial number associated with the construction industry, including carpenters, plumbers and electricians.
Here are the latest statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive in 2020:
- There were 2,446 mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain in 2018, a similar number to the previous six years, and 80 deaths fewer than the previous year
- More than half of annual deaths occur in those aged over 75 years; annual deaths in this age group continue to increase while deaths below age 70 are now decreasing
- There were 2,050 male deaths in 2018, and 396 female deaths
- There were 2,225 new cases of mesothelioma assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) in 2019 of which 240 were female
- Men who worked in the building industry when asbestos was used extensively are still those most at risk of mesothelioma