The death toll from the terrible asbestos disease, mesothelioma is sadly, continuing to rise, due to the widespread use of the deadly material that is still present throughout Britain’s buildings.
Worryingly, according to the latest government figures, deaths from mesothelioma are actually increasing from a figure of 153 in 1968 to 2,347 in 2010.
Men who worked in the construction industry find themselves at the greatest risk of developing the disease. In fact more than 80% of deaths attributable to mesothelioma are among men. Future predictions are no rosier, with deaths caused by mesothelioma being expected to hit their peak during 2016.
Unfortunately, females are not immune from the disease’s catastrophic effects either. The number of annual deaths amongst the female population is actually increasing more rapidly than amongst the male population.
It is clear to see the correlation between the deaths caused before and after the use of asbestos was banned. The government figures show that the age groups of 65-74, 75-84 and 85+ suffer the highest rates of mesothelioma. This is in contrast to those in the age bracket 35-44 and 45-54, who have seen a downward number of deaths since the early 1990’s.
The main occupations that are linked to the development of mesothelioma tend to be the occupations associated within the construction industry. This includes carpenters, plumbers and electricians.
Studies indicate that the rate is mostly amongst plumbers and electricians rather than solely carpentry. It appears that of the 46% of mesothelioma cases related to construction, only 17% related to carpentry.
One of the key causes for such high figures is the fact that asbestos insulation containing amosite (brown asbestos) was used extensively in the construction industry due to its affective fire protection properties. The irony in using the material for health and safety reasons is there for all to be seen.
A huge cause of concern for the international community is the continual use of asbestos in the developing world. Statistics in Asia show that there has been a five times increase in the number of diagnosed cases of mesothelioma in the last 30 years. Experts are warning that this is not even the tip of the iceberg. It is thought that while asbestos is still being used, figures are only likely to increase further.