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Workers unaware of asbestos risk

Tradespeople are putting themselves at risk of an incurable cancer because they don't know enough about asbestos, says the British Lung Foundation.

Asbestos causes a chest cancer called mesothelioma, which kills one person every five hours in the UK. Tradespeople such as builders, plumbers, carpenters, electricians and gas fitters are most at risk of getting this cruel disease.

A survey carried out by the British Lung Foundation ahead of Action Mesothelioma Day on February 27 reveals that:

  • Less than a third of tradespeople are aware asbestos exposure can cause cancer
  • Only 12% of tradespeople know asbestos exposure can kill them
  • Nearly a third (30%) wrongly believe most asbestos has been removed from UK buildings
  • Three quarters (74%) have had no training in how to deal with asbestos

Twenty tradespeople die of asbestos-related diseases every week and asbestos exposure is Britain's biggest workplace killer. Mesothelioma develops between 15 and 60 years after exposure to asbestos and the UK will soon face an epidemic of the disease as cases are set to peak between 2011 and 2015.

British Lung Foundation