HSE Figures Highlight ‘Terrible Legacy’ Of Hazardous Disease
New government figures have revealed the UK’s top ten ‘hotspots’ for cancer deaths linked to exposure to asbestos.
The most up to date statistics released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that more than 2,400 people - 2,050 men and 396 women - died from mesothelioma, a terminal form of cancer of the lining of the lungs (and less commonly, the abdomen) in 2018.
And over the past 37 years covering to when figures date back to, a total of 61,178 people in Great Britain have died from the disease.
Figures covering 1981 to 2018 show that Barrow-in-Furness was ranked first based on the number of men who died from the disease with 423 deaths, followed by West Dunbartonshire, with 379 deaths and North Tyneside with 291.
The local authority areas are ranked using standard mortality ratios (SMRs), which compares the amount of actual mesothelioma deaths recorded to how many were normally expected to die in the area.
While northern regions feature high in the top ten, cities in the south region such as Portsmouth, Plymouth and Southampton also feature prominently.
Barking and Dagenham ranks number 1 for female deaths from mesothelioma, with 355 deaths based on SMR.
Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have represented thousands of families affected by mesothelioma.
The figures come as the law firm marked Action Mesothelioma Day on 3 July, by continuing its fight for justice for those killed as a result of poor working conditions.
Expert Opinion“The number of deaths from mesothelioma remain disappointingly high. The HSE figures vividly highlight the terrible ongoing legacy of asbestos.
“The reality is that thousands of people are still dying as a result of past exposure to asbestos every year. The majority were exposed at work and in some cases may be completely unaware of the risk to their health, which makes Action Mesothelioma Day so important.”
Adrian Budgen added: “Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive and incurable cancer and, very sadly, causes a great deal of suffering to those affected by it.
“We often see cases where those working in industries - such as the construction industry or the shipbuilding and maritime industry - where the use of asbestos was prevalent, are diagnosed with mesothelioma many years after their exposure. There has also been a rise in the recent years of people becoming ill simply as a result of washing the clothes of workers during which harmful asbestos fibres were thrown into the air.
“Early diagnosis offers people the best chance for treatment and quality of life, so the more people who are aware of the risks, the better chance there is of improving survival rates and keeping families together for longer.
That’s why it is so important that we work to get justice and answers for those who were exposed to asbestos.”
Adrian Budgen - Partner