It can be difficult to maintain interest in a topic such as Industrial Disease which, by its inherent nature, can touch on matters of life and death.
For the time being at least, the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma remains a terminal diagnosis for many. The latest available figures and statistics available from the UK Health & Safety Executive suggest a total of 2,544 mesothelioma deaths throughout the United Kingdom in 2020. From 2012 – 2019 the average annual number of deaths was 2,523.
That does not look like substantial change, notwithstanding the predicted downward trend. The latter would seem predicated the fact that, generally, the statistics available suggest two-thirds of those diagnosed with mesothelioma are aged 75 or over, while the numbers diagnosed under the age of 65 continue to decrease. This would reflect, with time, improved working practices and health and safety awareness.
In or around 85% of fatalities are from occupational exposure, 15% from secondary exposure (for example, someone sharing a house with an asbestos worker, exposure usually occurring as a result of asbestos laden work clothing entering the household).
However, the numbers involved, for the time being at least, are substantial. The thankless task of raising awareness that in or around 50 people per week still die as a direct result of mesothelioma is often left to official and volunteer organisations.
Twitter can and does attract attention for the wrong reasons, there are however several sources of helpful information, including; Mesothelioma UK, @mesouk; Erase Meso, @erasemeso; The Mesothelioma Research Centre in Sheffield, @meso_sheffield; Clydebank Asbestos Group, @CAG_Asbestos; The British Occupational Hygiene Society, @BOHSworld.
This is not an exhaustive list, merely as an illustration of information that is publicly available and often prepared without fanfare by people committed to researching and, hopefully, eradicating what remains an illness affecting too many families.
For advice and guidance, please contact Jonathan Duncan on 028 9181 1538.
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