The has been an increase in the number of people in Wales dying from asbestos-related diseases increasing, according to new figures released by the Office of National Statistics.
There were 116 people in Wales who died from mesothelioma last year alone, up from 95 in 2010. Mesothelioma is caused by breathing in very fine fibres and can be a common cause of death from plasterers, labourers and builders.
The Vale of Glamorgan and Torfaen have been particularly hard hit with mortality rates for the disease higher than the UK average.
What is mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a cancerous tumour of the mesothelium, the lining of some of the major organs. Most commonly it affects the lining of the lung, but it can also affect the lining of the abdominal cavity and the lining around the heart. The risk of developing mesothelioma increases with the amount of asbestos someone has been exposed to.
These figures highlight the devastating impact that asbestos has had on so many lives in Wales. It is anticipated that the number of people killed by this terrible cancer will continue to increase for the next five years with mesothelioma deaths expected to peak in 2020.It is notable that an increased incidence has occurred in areas South Wales which has a strong industrial heritage.
Asbestos was widely used in the power stations, steel works and chemical plants across South Wales and we are now seeing many of the men who worked in these industries sadly being diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos related conditions.