Asbestos Related Diseases

Asbestos can easily be inhaled if disturbed, or if an asbestos containing material is in poor condition, as the material readily divides into microscopic fibres which can be dispersed on air currents.


Unfortunately, all forms of asbestos have the capability of causing fatal and incurable diseases including mesothelioma (a cancer of the lung lining), lung cancer and asbestosis (a fibrosis of the lung tissue). A number of other diseases such as pleural plaques, nasal cancer and pleural thickening are also associated with asbestos exposure. There is usually a long latency period from exposure until symptoms of the disease appear – typically 10 to 40 years.


The Health and Safety Executive estimates that previous exposure to asbestos currently leads to some 5,000 deaths annually in the UK. 


The table below shows the annual number of asbestos-related deaths and industrial injury disablement benefit cases. The HSE also projects future asbestos-related deaths as shown by the broken line. In July 2021 the HSE released their Asebstos-related Disease statistics in Great Britain, which includes 2019 data. Please refer to the HSE's website for the full report: "


Inhalation of asbestos fibres can cause cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer, and other serious lung diseases such as asbestosis and pleural thickening.


There were 2,369 mesothelioma deaths in 2019 and is estimated that there were, in addition, a similar number of deaths due to asbestos-related lung cancer.


Also, 490 Asbestosis deaths in 2019 due to past exposures to asbestos.

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