Fall in number of mesothelioma deaths

In July, the HSE released the latest data on mesothelioma mortality, which revealed a significant reduction in the number of deaths recorded in 2021.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that takes many years to develop, following the inhalation of asbestos fibres.

There are over 2,000 people diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK each year with about five times as many cases in men as in women.

Annual deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, with many deaths attributed to past occupational asbestos exposures, due to the industrial use of asbestos.

What does the latest data show?

  • Mesothelioma deaths fell from 2,570 in 2020 to 2,268 in 2021 – a reduction of 302.
  • The majority of deaths were male (1,867 deaths) with 401 female deaths recorded.
  • Two thirds of all deaths occurred amongst those who are aged 75 and over.
  • The number of deaths of those aged under 65 years continues to fall.
  • The HSE recognises that data for 2020 and 2021 may have been impacted by the pandemic, with some mesothelioma patients dying earlier than expected due to COVID.

The fall in the number of deaths can be seen in the graph below.

The data confirms previous HSE predictions that mortality would fall throughout this decade reflecting the outlawing of all types of asbestos in 1999 and reducing occupational exposures throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Safety in the workplace

Companies need to recognise the dangers of removing asbestos without appropriate safety measures in place to protect employees and the public. There are clear guidelines for what contractors and building owners should do if they come across asbestos containing materials.

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 require duty holders to manage asbestos in an appropriate manner. This can include conducting surveys, informing those involved, preventing risk of exposure and applying controls.

If you require advice, Aegis have experienced and knowledgeable staff who can advise and assist you. Get in touch with our team today for more information.