Asbestos Justice has recently reviewed the latest published figures for mesothelioma deaths across England and Wales for 2014.
The shocking figures show that the highest rate of mesothelioma deaths per 100,000 people was found to be in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria where 14.3 people were uncovered to have passed due to the incurable asbestos related cancer. It is thought that the area’s shipbuilding industry is the primary cause. Asbestos was commonly used in this industry to lag heating pipes running throughout ships for its fire retardant and heat insulation qualities.
At Asbestos Justice we have dealt with many mesothelioma claims where workers were heavily exposed to asbestos dust when working on the construction of ships in dry dock. The exposure not only affected those working directly with the material but also other employees who were nearby when the asbestos was in the process of being applied or removed. This so called “bystander” exposure can present a significant risk to workers developing mesothelioma in later life.
The latest figures were published by the Office for National Statistics and showed the average for mesothelioma deaths per 100,000 people in England and Wales to be 4.4 deaths. The figures in Barrow-in-Furness were shown to be almost three times the national average across the two countries.
James Cameron, Solicitor at Asbestos Justice stated:-
“Unfortunately, the published figures highlight the affect of decades of workplace asbestos exposure in the past when employers in the shipbuilding, manufacturing, building and other industries failed to take any precautions to safeguard their employees’ health and wellbeing. It is thought that incidences of diagnosed mesothelioma will not peak until around 2020 and therefore the figures are sadly, likely to increase over the second half of this decade.”
Other figures confirmed that cases of diagnosed mesothelioma in the Hampshire region also raised concern in that 62 people in the town of Fareham were found to have passed away due to mesothelioma between 2010 and 2014, making it the fourth highest mortality rate in England and Wales.
The MP for Fareham, Suella Fernandes stated that she was “hugely sympathetic” to those affected by mesothelioma and added :-
“The Mesothelioma Act will provide support for around 3,500 mesothelioma victims in the UK who fact the unique circumstances of this awful condition.”
James Cameron added:-
“The government’s recent decision to increase payments under the Mesothelioma Act to 100% of the average from 80% is to be welcomed. This should ensure that even those affected by mesothelioma who are unable to claim against their employers or their insurers, still have a form of recourse to ensure that they receive the compensation they need for the future. It is also a priority in any mesothelioma claim to protect the financial security of families after losing loved ones to the terrible condition. However, the scheme only assists those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma after the 25th July 2012 and it is also unfortunate that the government has failed to consider protecting sufferers of other asbestos related conditions such as pleural thickening, asbestosis and asbestos related lung cancer, all of which bring their own horrific symptoms.”
It is not only those that worked in industry who have suffered the devastating affects of mesothelioma. Many people develop the asbestos cancer which usually affects the lining of the lungs, as a result of being exposed to asbestos dust from loved ones’ contaminated work clothes.
At Asbestos Justice, we have dealt with multiple cases where sufferers developed an asbestos related condition after breathing in the deadly fibres in the home after family members had returned from their place of work in asbestos contaminated clothing. Sadly, most employers failed to provide laundry facilities for workers to use at the end of their working day and therefore, workers regularly returned home in the same clothes they wore at work, thus extending the dangers posed by asbestos exposure.
Asbestos Justice will continue to monitor the figures over the coming years and hope for an eventual decline in the death rates across the country.