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Twenty Years And 40,000 Deaths Since Asbestos Was Banned

Patients and their families suffering from asbestos related diseases will be calling for action on Friday at their Action Mesothelioma Day in Liverpool. Sufferers with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung with a poor prognosis will join with others affected by asbestos related diseases to demand more research funding for improved treatment and finding a cure for their conditions.

The Merseyside and Cheshire Asbestos Victims Support Groups are hosting the event starting at 11:15am with a commemorative Dove Release by children from New Brighton Primary School at 12.00 noon in Exchange Flags, behind Liverpool Town Hall.

A Dove Release will be held at Exchange Flags, behind Liverpool Town Hall at 12.00 noon in memory of those we have lost. Local Chest Consultants and other Health Care Professionals will be on hand to listen and talk with patients and their families.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, (pictured here in 2017 in West Kirby on the Labour Party's GE campaign) said:

“The continuing lack of government action on mesothelioma is nothing short of a national disgrace.

There are still thousands of people dying of mesothelioma each year, as a result of exposure to asbestos in the workplace. 

I have campaigned for many years for funding for research into this devastating disease and for fair compensation for victims and I’m proud to stand with local support groups on this year’s Action Mesothelioma Day.”

This year's figures from the HSE, show that there were 2,523 deaths in Great Britain in 2017 from Asbestos related disease, such as Mesothelioma.

The HSE add this caveat to their figures:

  • All asbestos-related diseases typically take many years to develop so current statistics reflect the legacy of past working conditions.
  • Widespread use of asbestos containing products in the past, particularly in the post-WWII building industry, led to a large increase in asbestos-related disease in Great Britain over the last few decades.

  • The cancer, mesothelioma, has such a strong relationship with asbestos that annual deaths give a particularly clear view of the effect of past exposures.
  • Annual deaths increased steeply over the last 50 years, largely as a result of asbestos exposure prior to 1980, and are now expected to continue at current levels for the rest of the decade before declining.

Commenting on this, John Flanagan, Support Officer for the Merseyside Group told Unionsafety:

“Mesothelioma is the least researched disease amongst the rarer cancers.

It is an insidious condition usually affecting blue collar workers although we are now seeing an increase in non-manual occupations such as School Teachers and their ancillary staff. The government have provided some funding for research but not nearly enough. It is years since the insurance industry has funded any substantial research into the condition, therefore  we are here today to make sure that the totally unacceptable state of affairs is rectified”.

He added:

“More than half a million tons of asbestos is exported from Russia to the developing world every year, mainly India and Pakistan killing and maiming thousands of workers in those countries, our demonstration recently outside the Russian Embassy protesting at their deadly trade in death for profit may seem futile, that’s what they said when a small number of activities and campaigners demanded a ban on the importation of asbestos in the 1960’s, those campaigners won the argument.

Let us assist the present generation do the same for victims of asbestos worldwide”

He added:

“It has been 20 years since asbestos was banned in the UK  and their has been 40,000 deaths since then, we must be taking action now to deal with asbestos in the built environment, maintenance workers are still being exposed to asbestos every day, this must stop!”

The Group will be showing Breathless, a documentary depicting the results of workers working with asbestos in India and Pakistan.

It will be shown at the Unite the Union Building, Islington, Liverpool on 10th July at 1.30pm. Filmmaker Daniel Lambo felt compelled to tell the story after his father died of an asbestos related disease. There is no charge at this performance.

Tomorrow's main event is being held at the Racquet Hotel, in Chapel Street Liverpool, with a buffet lunch, raffles and prizes with all proceeds going to Mesothelioma research.

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