3 July 2015
Today is Mesothelioma Action Day and Unite are calling for an asbestos eradication law to cut the mesothelioma death toll.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Sixteen years after asbestos was banned in the UK, exposure to asbestos, which causes the incurable disease mesothelioma, remains ‘an ever present danger’.”
The death toll from asbestos in the UK alone is 60,000, with a further 90,000 expected to die from past exposure to asbestos.
Although asbestos use was banned in the UK in 1999, in many buildings built or refurbished before 2000 it is still present – at least 50,000 non-domestic and a million domestic premises. This constitutes a serious occupational hazard to those working in the construction industry.
Those working in other occupations are at risk too, with the National Union of Teachers campaigning to highlight the health problems caused by the use of asbestos in schools. 15 teachers a year are thought to have been killed from it.
Cartmail continued; “We need a new asbestos eradication law requiring the safe, planned removal of all the asbestos that still remains in place across Britain – including a register of all properties which contain asbestos.
“This must be backed by an inspection and enforcement programme by health and safety bodies. such as the HSE, which must be properly resourced by the government.