Figures published by the Office of National Statistics, not surprisingly, have shown that the numbers of deaths in the UK from asbestos-related diseases including Mesothelioma are on the increase.
According to the Office of National Statistics (”ONS”) for the period 2008-2012 the average rate of deaths from Mesothelioma by region was 2.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
However, by August 2015 this figure had almost doubled to 4.5 deaths per 100,000 people (by region) and this increase shows no sign of abating.
However if we look closer at particular areas the actual figures in many areas are higher than t he average suggested by the ONS as can be seen from the table below.
|Local Authority||Deaths per 100,000/population|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne||8.3|
These areas show mortality rates on average 3 times higher than the National figures.
Apart from Castle Point, examination of the major industries in each of the areas suggests that a large proportion of the work force was employed in similar industries. The areas were reliant on steel, shipbuilding and ship repairs for their industrial base and the high mortality rates cannot be coincidence as all these industries were heavily associated with the use of asbestos.
Castle Point covers a large part of the Coastal Region of Essex around Canvey Island and Tilbury. On face-value, this area would not appear to have much in common with the other regions mentioned in the Office of National Statistics Table.
However over 7% of the population of Castle Point are aged between 75 and 84 (a higher percentage of the population than the country wide norm of just over 5%) and this may account for the increased incidence of Mesothelioma. The explanation could lie in the fact that Castle Point’s population including many workers retired to the coast following a lifetime’s work in industry where they were exposed to asbestos.
The Health and Safety Executive are currently predicting that the figure for male deaths from Mesothelioma will continue to rise until it reaches its peak in around 2020. However, given that we are seeing an increase in the number of teachers and other non-industrial workers being diagnosed with this asbestos-related condition it is highly likely that the HSE’s prediction is realistic.
It has been predicted on a number of occasions that we are seeing the peak of asbestos-related illnesses. However, such predictions have proved unreliable and with the risk that deaths from other workplaces, such as schools, now being identified as being causative, those predictions may yet again prove unreliable.
Asbestos in schools
When the use of Asbestos was at its peak over 14,000 schools were built and many Victorian schools were refurbished. Consequently large numbers of staff and pupils may have been exposed to harmful amounts of asbestos dust and fibres as a result.
It therefore stands to reason that we will soon start to see a vast increase in the number of cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos related illnesses where the cause of these deadly conditions is the result of exposure to asbestos dust and fibres at school and in non-industrial employment. Indeed we are already seeing an increase in “young” claimants many of which who have had no history of working with asbestos but have come into contact with damaged or poorly maintained asbestos whilst at school or in a more white collar working environment.
If you or any of your friends or family have had contact with asbestos dust and fibres in the past and have developed any form of asbestos related illness you should seek advice about your condition. Contact our specialist asbestos solicitors for compensation advice.