Asbestos illnesses killing more women

Quoted from

Asbestos illnesses killing more women

By Mark Ellis 8/11/2010

Asbestos Campaign


An alarming increase in the number of women dying of an asbestos-related cancer is worrying experts, the Mirror can reveal today.

The latest official figures show that mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, is the most rapidly increasing cancer in women.

And experts are baffled by the sharp rise and called for more research into “low level” exposure to the killer dust. Some believe the shock rise is linked to asbestos-riddled schools built in the 1960s and 70s and victims are coming to light as the cancer develops upto 40 years after contact with the killer dust.

All the major teaching unions support the Mirror’s Asbestos Timebomb campaign for an audit of all public buildings, including schools, and want the deadly material removed.


Consultant surgeon John Edwards, who has studied the figures, said:”We don’t know why the incidence in women is rising. We need further research to determine the risk of low level exposure to asbestos. “The increase in males is more steady and the fact that the ratio has changed suggests that the pattern of exposure has changed.”


The Sheffield lung surgeon said many of the victims had not worked in industries normally associated with asbestos exposure and said the ‘‘perception amongst clinicians’’ was that the deadly cancer,which attacks the lining of the lung or abdomen, was the result of ‘‘low level’’ exposure, such as asbestos found in school wall and ceiling panels.


The latest government statistics for the Health and Safety Executive show that mesothelioma was mentioned as the cause of death for 384 women in 2008 compared with 1,865 men. In 2007, it was 347 women and 1,826 men. In 2005 it was 289 women and 1,759 men.


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