Asbestos deaths on the rise in UK

10th September 2015

A staggering 10,526 people in England and Wales have died from mesothelioma since 2010, according to the latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics.

Almost a quarter of those deaths (2,352) were in 2014 alone, with areas prevalent in the shipping industry and those with dockyards the most affected. Asbestos was used heavily throughout history in these workplaces due to its low levels of corrosion and protective qualities.

The most affected town in England is the seaport of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, which has an average death rate of 14.3 per 100,000 – far above the average death rate per 100,000 of 4.4. Other highly-affected regions include South Tyneside (11.1) and North Tyneside (10.9), while Newcastle upon Tyne, Fareham, Portsmouth and Southampton all have death rates higher than the national average.

While the national average in Wales was less than England’s (3.1 per 100,000), the Vale of Glamorgan (5.7) and Torfaen (5.4) were both above the UK average.

Richard Green, a solicitor specialising in compensation claims for mesothelioma sufferers and their families, told “When you are exposed to asbestos, the risk of becoming ill increases depending on the duration, frequency and the type of asbestos you’ve been exposed to.

“People often develop symptoms long after the exposure and do not always relate their illness to the original source exposure, which may have been through work many years earlier.

“Conditions such as pleural plaques, mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis and pleural thickening can all be caused through exposure.”