IOSH Report Estimates ‘Thousands Killed By Occupational Cancer’

Study Sheds Light On Exposure To Carcinogens


New research has suggested that thousands of people die each year from cancer due to occupational causes.

A report from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) estimated that up to 100,000 deaths worldwide are related to asbestos exposure, although a study carried out in Great Britain estimates that over the course of one year 5.3% of cancer deaths were attributable to occupational exposure.

The most common cause of occupational cancers is exposure to carcinogens. Carcinogenic substances continue to be used in various types of industry with the most common substances including benzene, cadmium, ultraviolet radiation along with various hydrocarbons.

The IOSH note that the most common cancers linked with occupational exposure include lung cancer, bladder cancer, leukaemia and nasal and sinus cancer.

Alongside carcinogens, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists over 50 substances which are known or probable causes of workplace cancer, and over 100 other possible substances.

Expert Opinion
Whilst the impact of factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, genetics and personal characteristics should not be forgotten when it comes to cancer, evidence continues to highlight the worrying impact of exposure to carcinogens in the workplace.

"The difficulty with cases involving exposure to carcinogens is that it can take many years before symptoms become noticeable. Consequently it is essential that employees who have been exposed are provided with as much information as possible regarding the possible causes of their condition.

"Identifying former employers and obtaining evidence from former colleagues can often prove invaluable to us when pursuing justice on behalf of victims of occupational cancers and families who have lost loved ones to such illnesses. Our work ensures they are able to get financial support at a difficult time as they come to terms with their ordeals."
Alex Shorey, Solicitor