Specialist Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell Concerned Over High Death Total
Latest figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that the number of deaths from mesothelioma in the UK in 2016 was 2,595, an increase of over 50 on the previous year.
Mesothelioma is a cancer in the lining of the lungs, and less commonly, the abdomen. The disease is almost always associated with exposure to asbestos, and it often takes several decades for symptoms to show following this exposure.
Inhalation of asbestos dust and fibres cannot only cause mesothelioma, as well as lung cancer, but also other serious lung diseases. These include asbestosis and pleural thickening.
The HSE say that widespread use of asbestos containing products in the past, particularly in the building industry, led to a large increase in asbestos-related disease in Great Britain since the Second World War.
Specialist lawyers from national law firm Irwin Mitchell, the largest dedicated Asbestos Disease Litigation Team in the UK, have highlighted their concern over the HSE’s statement that it expects the number of annual deaths to continue at current levels to the end of the decade before beginning to decline.
Adrian Budgen, Head of the Asbestos-Related Disease team at Irwin Mitchell, said:
Expert Opinion“These latest figures highlight the tragic reality that we see day to day in our work. Behind every number in these statistics is a family whose lives have been torn apart by a terminal cancer diagnosis. Mesothelioma is very aggressive and devastating for those affected.
“Too many people are dying due to the very poor management of asbestos in the past. The majority of those exposed to asbestos suffered exposure at work, and were completely unaware of the dangers of asbestos when they worked with it – while their employers were or at least should have been aware of regulations around asbestos management and should have done more to protect them.
“The HSE’s prediction that the number of deaths caused by mesothelioma will continue on a similar level to at least the end of decade, before we see a decline, shows the extent of the dreadful legacy from the 1900s.
“The estimated peak of mesothelioma diagnoses keeps being pushed further and further into the future and it, very sadly, means that many more people will succumb to the deadly disease in the years to come.
“While the majority of the exposure occurred in the workplace, an increasing number of people, particularly women, were exposed in other settings. It is extremely concerning that asbestos is still present in so many public buildings, including school and hospitals, to this day.” Adrian Budgen - Partner