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New figures highlight asbestos legacy

03 Nov 2016
APIL news

New figures show that six people die of asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma every day in England and Wales. 

A regional breakdown highlights the towns hardest hit by the deadly disease.

The most affected area, Barrow-in-Furness, has more than two and a half times the rate of deaths than the national average, with 11.57 deaths for each 100,000 of the population.

The average rate for England is 4.51.  

“Areas most affected by a high rate of deaths from mesothelioma are no doubt seeing the effects of past industry where workers were negligently exposed to asbestos. This is despite the risks being well-known since as far back as the 1950s. People went to work and came home with a needless death sentence,” said Neil Sugarman,president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) a national not-for-profit campaign group which campaigns for redress for sick and dying workers.

“Mesothelioma is a lung cancer exclusively linked to exposure to asbestos, which often happens 20 or even 30 years before the disease emerges. It is always fatal,often within 18 months of diagnosis,” he explained.

In the past ten years, the number of deaths from mesothelioma has rocketed by nearly a third. The number of deaths is expected to peak in 2018.*

“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,” said Mr Sugarman.   

“As the effects of more robust regulation of the use of asbestos and better safety practices come to fruition, the number of needless deaths should start to decline.”

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.

“It’s a national tragedy.”

10 areas with highest mortality rates for mesothelioma.

Local authority

Deaths per 100,000 population



North Tyneside


South Tyneside


Castle Point
















Notes to editors:

Mortalityfigures obtained from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). For additionalfigures for surrounding areas, please contact Jane or Lizzy in the APIL pressoffice on the details below.

·        *Mortality projection from the Health and Safety Executive

·        Cancer Research UK list symptom of mesothelioma as follows:

-       Chest pain

-       Shortness of breath

-       Tiredness(fatigue)

-       Sweating and high temperatures

-       A persistent cough

-       Losing weight when not dieting

-       Loss of appetite

-       Difficulty swallowing


-       A hoarse or husky voice
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