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BOHS: 'Too Little Awareness' Of Work-Related Cancers

Organisation Says Employers Must Do More To Help


There must be greater acknowledgement of work-related factors in causing cancer, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) has said.

As part of World Cancer Day (February 4th), the organisation said that while diet and lifestyle factors are often focused upon, there is comparatively little awareness of occupational exposure to carcinogens, which could hinder the ongoing battle against cancer.

Simple and cost-effective workplace hygiene solutions which can eliminate the risk of such exposure are also not being employed everywhere they should be, says the BOHS.

Without further action to stamp out causes of work-related cancers, some 13,000 people could be dying from them every year in the UK by 2060. This represents an increase of 5,000 compared with the current number of deaths.

"People at the highest risk of lung cancer caused by diesel exhaust emissions are miners and professional drivers," said Mike Slater, President of the BOHS.

"To be blunt, this high risk will not be favourably altered just by miners and drivers eating healthily or keeping fit."

Expert Opinion
We welcome the comments from the BOHS and hope its comments and World Cancer Day will help increase awareness of work-related illnesses and diseases and their impact on employees. While past occupational exposure to asbestos is the leading occupational carcinogen, other major occupational carcinogens include silica, diesel engine exhausts (DEEs), mineral oils in terms of their contribution to cancer deaths; shift working and solar radiation.

“In our work we see first-hand the devastating impact work-related cancer can have on individuals. In many cases the diseases could have been prevented had their employers provided them with protective equipment and information on the dangers of hazardous materials and we hope companies will continue to improve the measures they have in place to protect staff.”
Satinder Bains, Partner

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