The United Kingdom Asbestos Crisis

    Asbestos was heavily used in the United Kingdom from the years of 1950-1970. Due to this heavy use of the dangerous asbestos mineral, the United Kingdom has been facing the consequences for decades after.

    Asbestos is an extremely dangerous mineral, it is small and fiber like, making it easy for it to go airborne. When its airborne, the tiny fibers of asbestos can travel into the lungs when inhaled. In the lungs, they lodge themselves deep into the tissue and cause a multitude of diseases. Some of these diseases include pleural thickening and asbestosis. The inhalation of asbestos fibers also causes cancers, such as asbestos related lung cancer and the fatal mesothelioma.

    The health effects of asbestos fibers are also not seen until decades after the exposure. This factor contributed to the struggle of pinning asbestos as the culprit of all of these diseases and cancers.

    Due to the incubation time asbestos fibers have to cause disease in, many of the citizens of Britain who worked with asbestos in the 1950’s through the 70’s are just now starting to face the consequences.

    The United Kingdom is considered to be in crisis at the moment due to asbestos related diseases and cancers. These are all due to the heavy use of asbestos in British industries throughout the 1900’s. It was found that in 2017, however, the rates of mesothelioma deaths in the United Kingdom have nearly doubled, with cases in 1995 being at 1,317, and the number of cases in 2017 being 2,523.

    Many people claim that these deaths are due to a negligent government, with a lawyer specialising in workplace injuries and illness stating, “In many cases people are now paying the price for criminal failings by industry and the government, who were responsible for the lack of action on the part of the Factory Inspectorate [the precursor to the HSE].”

    As of now, however, the only thing the British government can do is attempt to find a cure for the already contracted mesothelioma.

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