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New Figures Reveal Extent of Asbestos Legacy

Six people tragically lose their lives every day in England and Wales as a result of mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer, new figures have revealed.

The figures, from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), also give a regional breakdown of the towns hardest hit by the deadly disease.

The most affected area, Barrow-in-Furness, has more than two and a half times the rate of deaths than the national average, with 11.57 deaths for each 100,000 of the population. The average rate for England is 4.51. 

“Areas most affected by a high rate of deaths from mesothelioma are no doubt seeing the effects of past industry where workers were negligently exposed to asbestos,” explained Neil Sugarman, president of APIL. “This is despite the risks being well-known since as far back as the 1950s. People went to work and came home with a needless death sentence.”

Mesothelioma is a lung cancer exclusively linked to exposure to asbestos. The disease usually doesn’t emerge until 20 to 30 years after exposure to asbestos, but is always fatal, often within 18 months of diagnosis.

In the past ten years, the number of deaths from mesothelioma has rocketed by nearly a third, says APIL, and is likely to keep growing until the numbers reach an expected peak in 2018.

“The suffering of families affected by mesothelioma demonstrates how important it is that lessons are learned and health and safety in the workplace is respected,” said Mr Sugarman.  

“Construction workers and associated tradesmen are a high-risk group for asbestos exposure, as are shipbuilders,” he added. “Even teachers are at risk as asbestos was used so widely when building schools. Nineteen teachers are dying from mesothelioma each year. It’s a national tragedy.”

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