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This most likely means that your area had a relatively low number of mesotheliomas. The geographical distribution of mesothelioma deaths is affected by the fact that death certificates (upon which statistics are based) only record the last address of residence. Thus people may have had heavy exposures to asbestos in the past in the traditional high-risk industries located within certain geographical areas, and then moved to areas of a relatively lower risk before dying from mesothelioma. Also, the effect of the risk of more general exposures across a wider range of occupations (e.g. exposure to maintenance workers in buildings) is likely to affect all geographical areas and is thus likely to be most noticeable in those that have traditionally been of lowest risk.

High-risk areas tend to be those containing, or near to, industrial sites where asbestos was used extensively in the past - for example, shipyards, asbestos manufacturing factories and railway engineering works. This will usually mean that the area has a higher proportion of people who have worked in these industries than the average for the country, and excess mesotheliomas are likely to occur in people who have worked in them. In some cases there may have been a general environmental risk in places close to these sites in the past. Individual risk has more to do with occupation rather than geographical location of residence. Nowadays, those working in building maintenance trades are likely to be at highest risk

Much has been done to control the risk from asbestos. Work with asbestos generally requires a licence and the use of strict control measures, including personal protective equipment such as respirators. The fact that a wide range of people now have the potential to be exposed to asbestos - particularly workers involved in building maintenance - has led to the latest set of Regulations - The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. This came into force on 13 November 2006 (Asbestos Regulations - SI 2006/2739) and brings together three previous sets of Regulations covering the prohibition of asbestos, the control of asbestos at work and asbestos licensing. The Regulations prohibit the importation, supply and use of all forms of asbestos and they continue the ban introduced for blue and brown asbestos in 1985 and for white asbestos in 1999. They also continue to ban the second-hand use of asbestos products such as asbestos cement sheets and asbestos boards and tiles; including panels which have been covered with paint or textured plaster containing asbestos.

The Asbestos Regulations also include the ‘duty to manage asbestos’ in non-domestic premises. Guidance on the duty to manage asbestos can be found in the Approved Code of Practice The Management of Asbestos in Non-Domestic Premises, L127

Based on an analysis of the last recorded occupation for mesothelioma deaths during 2002 - 2005, the ten occupations found to have the highest risk of mesothelioma for males were Carpenters, Plumbers, Electricians, Labourers in Other Construction Trades, Metal Plate Workers, Pipe Fitters, Construction Operatives, Managers in Construction, Construction Trades and Energy Plant Operatives. The occupations most frequently recorded on deaths certificates of men dying from mesothelioma today include may that are associated with construction and building maintenance trades, highlighting the important role of past exposures to “end users” of asbestos containing materials in the building industry.

  • There were 96 deaths in 2007 where asbestosis is described as the underlying cause of death on the death certificate.
  • The annual number of new cases of asbestosis according to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Industrial Injuries and Disablement Benefit (IIDB) scheme (which compensates workers for prescribed occupational diseases) has risen erratically since the early 1980s, with the trend strongly increasing since the early 1990s reaching the current level of 795 in 2007. This is likely to be an underestimate of the total number of cases.
  • There were 400 new cases of disablement benefit for diffuse pleural thickening in 2008.
  • The trend in diffuse pleural thickening has increased over recent years, although this may be partly or wholly explained by the acceptance of claims under the IIDB scheme for unilateral (affecting only one lung) cases and other changes in data collection methods.

We are able to deliver on-site training courses in all these regions:

Avon, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Borders, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Central Scotland, Cheshire,  Cleveland, Clwyd, Cornwall, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Dumfries/Galloway, Dyfed, East Sussex, Essex, Fife, Gloucestershire, Grampian, Greater Manchester, Gwent, Gwynedd County, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Highlands, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Lothian, Merseyside, Mid Glamorgan, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Powys, Shropshire, Somerset, South Glamorgan, Staffordshire, Strathclyde, Suffolk, Surrey, Tayside, Tyne and Wear, Warwickshire, West Glamorgan, West Midlands, West Sussex, Wiltshire, Worcestershire & Yorkshire

Bangor, Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Carlisle, Chester, Chichester, Coventry, Derby, Durham, Edinburgh, Ely, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Kingston upon Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newport, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Salford, Salisbury, Sheffield, Southampton, St Albans, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Truro, Wakefield, Wells, Winchester, Wolverhampton, Worcester, York