The amount of asbestos related cancer cases such as Mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos before the 1980’s has not yet reached its peak despite killing more than 1800 people in the UK each year. There are 2100 people diagnosed with asbestos related disease each year, and most of those victims die within 12 months of diagnosis.
The UK has the highest Mesothelioma cases in the world with 3.4 out of every 100,000 mean contracting the disease. The UK had consumed around 7million tonnes of asbestos in the last century.
Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer in which a tumour develops in the lining of the lungs. Senior doctors writing for the British Journal say that a peak in the epidemic had not yet happened and wasn’t likely to happen until 2015 at the earliest.
Mesothelioma and other asbestos related deaths come from exposure to, and inhalation of asbestos materials such as insulation pipes and building materials. Tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers are most at risk during their every day work.
There are more people that die each year from asbestos related disease than there are fatalities in road traffic accidents.
Asbestos was banned in 1999 but was very commonly used prior to this, especially in the 1980’s. Due to the nature of the disease and the long incubation period there can be many years between exposure and diagnosis, commonly from 25 up. A disease epidemic is expected to boom between 2015 and 2020 and the yearly death rate is likely to be 2000 people each year in the UK alone.
Thousands were exposed to asbestos before legislation became stricter and those who worked within the trade industry in the early 80’s are likely to be diagnosed in the future creating a time bomb of the disease.
The United States had an early awareness of the danger of asbestos and their cases of Mesothelioma and asbestos related disease is likely to have peaked already despite the country not fully banning the substance. Many developing countries are still using asbestos in construction and production such Indonesia and China, meaning Mesothelioma and asbestos related deaths are not likely to have peaked or reach a peak in the close future.
There is nothing that can be done now to prevent disease contracted by those between the 1950’s and 1970’s. Death and diagnosis rate is highest in the UK in the North East, around the Tyneside and Tyne and Wear Metropolitan areas.
It is important that doctors know how to treat and recognised Mesothelioma, increased publicity through more charities and campaigns is making people aware of the dangers meaning diagnosis can be made at an earlier stage. Additionally new treatments are available, which need to be used more and publicised more heavily in order for victims and their families as well as the public to have confidence in them.
Contact our Armco office for asbestos management and refurbishment/ demolition surveys on 0161 763 3727 or by visiting https://www.armco.org.uk/. Alternatively call 0161 761 4424 or visithttps://www.armcoasbestostraining.co.uk/ for enquires or to book your training course.
Published Mar 16, 2015