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Barrow-in-Furness suffers highest asbestos-related cancer death rate

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Barrow-in-Furness, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Stockton-on-Tees are among the areas hardest hit by asbestos-related cancers, according to new figures.

Office for National Statistics data shows that six people die from mesothelioma every day in England and Wales, with the number of deaths having increased by a third over the past ten years.

Areas that were centres of industries notorious for having allowed workers to be exposed to asbestos fibres have experienced significantly higher death rates from mesothelioma.

For example, the worst affected area of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria was found to have a rate of 11.57 deaths for each 100,000 of the population, compared to the national average of 4.51.

North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Stockton-on-Tees were also in the top ten most seriously affected areas, almost certainly because of the large-scale use of asbestos by traditional major employers such as shipyards, steelworks and chemical plants.

While the use of asbestos as a construction material was banned in 1999, its use prior to that date was so widespread that the substance remains in the fabric of thousands of buildings across the country and it remains a danger to workers.

Proper management of 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, President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers which has campaigned on behalf of the families of people who died from mesothelioma, said it was a “national tragedy” that so many people had suffered due to exposure to asbestos.

“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 added.

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

BLS Asbestos is a well-established Yorkshire-based asbestos contractor with a highly-trained workforce, an HSE licence to work with asbestos insulation and asbestos insulation board for the purpose of removal and an Environment Agency licence to transport hazardous waste.

Contact BLS Asbestos on 01484 400558 or via the website to request a quote for any asbestos-related work, from management surveys to large-scale removal jobs.

Published: 9th November 2016