National Action Mesothelioma Day 2007

Greater awareness of mesothelioma called for on National Action Mesothelioma Day



Tuesday 27th February will see events taking place across the country to mark the 2007 Action Mesothelioma Day, including a parliamentary reception on the day at the House of Commons hosted by Michael Clapham (Lab) MP and organised by the British Lung Foundation.

One of the people suffering from the incurable asbestos related cancer, Mesothelioma, has called for there to be a greater awareness amongst the public of the dangers related to the exposure to Asbestos.

Mrs Ann Weaver (74) started work as a primary school teacher in 1951, she returned to teaching in 1969 having taken a break for 10 years to bring up her two children.
Exposed to Asbestos.

However, it was not until 1979, when Mrs Weaver had moved to Norfolk, that it is alleged she was exposed to Asbestos at Aslacton Primary School, Norwich.

Mrs Weaver, who now lives in Hereford, said I taught at Aslacton School until 1989. For the last 4 years before I retired I taught from an old mobile classroom which was suspected of being made of asbestos as many mobile classrooms were. As many teachers do, I was always pinning up the children's work on to the walls of the classroom and this could very easily have released the asbestos fibres which lead to this terrible disease.
People need to be aware that many people are at risk from Asbestos exposure, not just those who worked in heavy industry and construction. The use of Asbestos in schools was a tragic mistake; I want to do all I can to alert people to the dangers of asbestos.


Leading mesothelioma solicitor comments

Adrian Budgen the Head of the Industrial Diseases Group at law firm Irwin Mitchell, which represents Mrs Weaver, said We have seen a year on year increase in the number of people developing Mesothelioma. What is of great concern is the growing number of people, not usually associated with heavy exposure to asbestos, who have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma. These include teachers such as Mrs Weaver, hospital staff and family members exposed to asbestos dust on their loved ones work clothes.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium, the thin membrane that lines the chest and abdomen. One of the cruellest forms of cancer, Mesothelioma is incurable and invariably fatal and has a very long incubation period, generally between 20 and 50 years.

It is estimated that there are approximately 2000 deaths from Mesothelioma a year currently in the UK and this number has doubled since 1992 and is set to rise as, despite the use of asbestos being banned in the UK in 1999, previous exposure to the substance means this number has not yet reached its maximum.

Professor Julian Peto, the chairman of Cancer Research UK and Professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has called the use of Asbestos in Britain an extraordinary industrial error, and has estimated that a further 90,000 people will die from Mesothelioma in the UK and a further 90,000 from other lung diseases related to asbestos exposure.

Professor Peto added that Mesothelioma has already killed twice as many people as cervical cancer and that those particularly at risk are people born in the 1940s who worked as Carpenters, laggers, shipyard workers, metal workers and electricians and other areas of construction.


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