Asbestos-Related Disease – The Statistics

The true extent of the danger posed by asbestos is only just becoming clear; a decade after its usage was banned in the UK. The negligence of employers and general ignorance as to the lethal nature of asbestos is thought to have led to hundreds of thousands of workers in the UK being exposed to deadly asbestos dust over many decades. Unfortunately, for many of these workers, it is only now that they are starting to realise the devastating effects this may have had on their health.

Asbestos fibres become trapped in the lungs and respiratory tract and cannot be expelled but the symptoms of asbestos related diseases often cannot be diagnosed until 30 to 40 years after the initial contact with the asbestos. Although asbestos containing materials (ACMs) have now been banned they are still evident in buildings built before 2000 and as a result many people are still exposed to them.

The Health and Safety Executive has released a series of alarming statistics which show the true extent of the problems caused by Britain’s irresponsible attitude towards asbestos until the millennium. Here are a couple of examples:

• More work-related deaths are causes by asbestos than by any other danger in the workplace

• There were nearly 2,350 mesothelioma fatalities, 2,000 lung cancer fatalities and over 400 asbestosis fatalities as a result of asbestos in 2010

• Every, hundreds more asbestos-related disease cases are discovered, including over 700 new cases of asbestosis in 2010

If you think it took the UK a long time to confront the dangers posed by asbestos, the new from abroad is even more alarming. The World Health Organisation believes that as many as 125,000,000 workers worldwide are still at risk of asbestos related diseases due to contact with ACMs. This figure does not even include those who face asbestos in at home and not work.

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