More people are dying from asbestos in Warwickshire than ever before, according to a local coroner.
Some five decades ago, doctors writing in the British Medical Journal predicted that the peak for deaths caused by asbestos, most commonly by mesothelioma, would happen in this era. The fatal disease caused by exposure to the deadly dust can take more than 50 years to show symptoms, and now Warwickshire coroner Sean McGovern has confirmed this to be true in his region.
McGovern told rugbyobserver.co.uk he is currently conducting at least one asbestos-related inquest every week. Mesothelioma currently kills more than 1,800 people in the UK annually – expected to rise to 2,000 in the next few years.
“It is a difficult disease for those who have it and those around them. Many people suffer from the mistakes of the past,” he said.
“Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot more asbestos-related inquests. We now deal with at least one asbestos-related death at Leamington Justice Centre every week. It was only in the late 1970s that people became aware of the dangers that affected so many, including my own father.”
Despite currently being at a peak, asbestos deaths will eventually decline, as newer buildings are not built using the naturally occurring fibrous material. However, asbestos is still found in many buildings today, ranging from homes to schools and even hospitals.