Asbestos-related death rates highest in the North East

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The asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma claims the lives of six people every day in England and Wales, with areas of the North-East having among the highest mortality rates for the disease.

Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that the North-East is paying the price for its industrial past, with mesothelioma deaths in Stockton as high as 8.5 in every 100,000 people.

Other areas with high death rates include:

  • Darlington has the 13th highest rate of deaths from the disease, with 7.65 in every 100,000 people – almost double the national average for England of 4.51.
  • In Middlesbrough this figure is 6.41 and in Redcar and Cleveland it is 6.55.
  • North Yorkshire fares better, with 1.97 deaths per 100,000 people in Richmondshire, 2.79 in Hambleton and 2.52 in Ryedale.
  • County Durham’s mesothelioma death rate is 4.23 in every 100,000 people.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lungs and is linked with exposure to asbestos which was heavily used in industry after the Second World War and up to the 1970s. It can take decades before the disease emerges and it is always fatal, often within 18 months of diagnosis.

Asbestos can be found in any industrial or residential building built or refurbished before the year 2000. It is in many of the common materials previously used in the building trade that workers can come into contact with.

Managing asbestos is both a legal requirement and key to safeguarding workers from exposure to the fibres that cause fatal cancer. Commissioning a licensed asbestos contractor to remove the substance in a controlled manner is the most effective way to prevent workers - particularly tradesmen who work on the fabric of buildings - from being exposed to asbestos.

Neil Sugarman is the president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), a not-for-profit organisation that campaigns for redress for sick and dying workers.

He described the asbestos legacy as “a national tragedy”.

“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,” he said.

“People went to work and came home with a death sentence because their negligent employers exposed them to asbestos.”

BLS Asbestos are asbestos contractors who can undertake asbestos refurbishment and demolition surveys at sites across north-west England, Yorkshire, the Midlands and north-east, and are also licensed to remove and dispose of asbestos.

Contact us via the website or by calling 01484 400558 to arrange a quote for your project.

Published: 13th January 2017